Indiana State University President Dr. Deborah J. Curtis announced her retirement from education after nearly 38 years in higher education.
Dr. Curtis is Indiana State’s 12th President. She is only the second alumnus in ISU history to hold the position and the first woman to serve as President.
“It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to serve as President of this incredible institution. Working with dedicated faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees, I know Indiana State University will continue to do what it does best: positively and meaningfully impact students’ lives. From my time as a Sycamore Ph.D. candidate, I have experienced firsthand our University’s focus on positively impacting students; this utmost priority continues today and I am confident it will continue in the future. The next leader of ISU will be joining at a time when so many opportunities are on the horizon that will catapult ISU to an even higher level. A strong and solid foundation is in place for the University’s future,” Curtis said.
Robert Casey, Chair of ISU’s Board of Trustees, said, “For the past six years, President Curtis has led ISU in a way that is emblematic of her deep loyalty and pride in her alma mater, working with her cabinet, faculty, and staff to take ISU to new heights in delivering high-quality education to students in all of its disciplines. Her advocacy for ISU in the Statehouse, the broader Wabash Valley community, and the alumni community has been energetic and passionate, creating renewed enthusiasm for the ISU brand among all of these key stakeholders.
President Curtis has consistently focused on developing innovative programs that support student success. Graduating students to prepare them for the workforce in Indiana and beyond has been a top priority of her strategic vision. During her tenure, thousands of students have obtained degrees from ISU and are leading productive and enriching lives in Indiana, across the country, and even throughout the world. In the same way, President Curtis’ leadership in University Advancement has resulted in unprecedented successes in philanthropy, including remarkable progress in the $100 million dollar Be So Bold campaign and record growth in the university’s endowment. This support will be a strong pillar of ISU’s growth for years to come and is a credit to President Curtis’ futuristic vision for ISU’s role in higher education in the State of Indiana.”
During Dr. Curtis’ six-and-a-half-year tenure, her commitment to the University’s future has led to the strategic investment from the State of Indiana in several campus buildings, including $34 million for the renovation of Dreiser Hall. The new space is a modern teaching facility, with state-of-the-art learning spaces, and an enhanced student theatre.
The State is investing $66 million to renovate the Technology Annex building in the Bailey College of Engineering and Technology, the largest capital project funded by the State in University history. The building will soon feature modernized upgrades and new instructional and laboratory spaces.
Under Dr. Curtis’ leadership, Indiana State University has remained committed to improving childcare accessibility in the West Central Indiana region by creating strategic partnerships and securing $5 million from a State of Indiana EDC READI grant, county and city ARPA funding, and additional funding from a recent grant proposal. ISU’s high-quality and research-based Early Childhood Education Center will be a foundational tool to ensure children are prepared when they’re enrolled in school while allowing parents the peace of mind to enter the workforce knowing their child is being cared for.
For two years, Dr. Curtis, along with the resilient faculty and staff of Indiana State, navigated through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, ISU went online for only six weeks in the spring of 2020 but never closed. In a time of uncertainty, Indiana State strived to keep the current workforce when other colleges and universities were experiencing layoffs.
In addition to her commitment to ISU, Dr. Curtis also served on the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Central Indiana Corporate Partnerships, Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, and other organizations. She’s also been recognized as an Indiana Women of Influence in 2022 and one of Indiana’s Most Influential Business Leaders by the Indianapolis Business Journal in 2023.
“President Curtis can take pride in her many accomplishments leading Indiana State as its 12th President and the enduring legacy she has created. We look forward to working closely with her during the remainder of this academic year and wish her, Lynn, and their family the very best as she prepares for this professional and personal transition. The selection of the University’s president is the most important decision the Board of Trustees will make. As such, the search process for ISU’s 13th President will begin immediately,” Casey stated.