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University of Southern Indiana
Optimized image 497173d1.png
Motto Live Wisely
Established 1965
Type Public
Endowment US $66 million[1]
President Linda L. M. Bennett
Faculty 821
Students 10,576
Undergraduates 9,648
Postgraduates 868
Location Evansville, Indiana, USA
Campus Suburban: 1,400 acres (6 km2)
Athletics 13 Division II NCAA teams,
called Screaming Eagles
Colors Red, White, and Blue
Mascot Archibald Eagle (Archie)

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) is a public university in Evansville, Indiana. This publicly-funded institution is rapidly growing and is the fastest growing comprehensive state university in Indiana.[2] Fall enrollment figures in 2009 broke 10,500 students for the first time. The University boasts a modern 300-acre (1.2 km2) suburban campus situated within wooded rolling hills.[3]




Regional campus

The University of Southern Indiana began in 1965 as a regional branch of Indiana State University, which is located in Terre Haute. Classes were originally held in a former elementary school on the west side of Evansville known as Centennial School – denoting the year it was built in 1876. The property was leased from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which still has a large facility nearby.

In 1971, the school moved to its current campus on the western edge of Evansville. The first buildings constructed were the original Library and the University Center. Slowly the school built facilities, as funding became available during the Indiana State University-Evansville period.


The relationship with Indiana State University was an awkward one from the start. Local leaders, who were not pleased with the level of support, contended that if the campus was to thrive it would need to gain independent status.[4] A coordinated effort was made to establish the campus as an independent state university.

Opposition came immediately from Indiana State University along with Indiana University and Purdue, which were concerned that granting the campus independence would set a precedent for other small branch campuses around the state.[4] However, the local campus continued to rally support from state legislators, business leaders, and local groups.

In 1985, independence was finally granted when Robert D. Orr, an Evansville native, signed the school's charter and started a new chapter as the University of Southern Indiana. Since gaining its independence, USI's growth has continued to where it is now the fastest growing comprehensive university in the state.[5] The University established student housing, diversified the programs offered, and enrollment has more than doubled since gaining its independence.

University expansion

In October, 2006, the University completed a master plan that provides the framework to double the size of the school and support a campus of over 20,000 students. The master plan features key planning principles to guide the University and help it create a cohesive campus as it continues to grow.[6]

Student body

Over 10,500 students enrolled at USI in the fall of 2009. Although the student population is largely local and regional, the international student population is growing each year.[7] The University reported students came from 90 Indiana counties, 36 other states, and 42 other nations for the 2006-2007 academic year. Additionally, more than 15,000 people participate annually in continuing education courses and special programs sponsored by the Division of Extended Services.[8] Over 20,000 students have graduated since 1971. Nearly 75% of USI's graduates remain in Indiana. Annual credit enrollment is expected to exceed 11,000 in the next five years. The University serves an additional 9,000 persons annually through comprehensive noncredit programs of short duration.

Nearly all students who live on campus (with the exception of some freshmen who are housed in modern suite-style facilities) are assigned apartments with full kitchens.


Rice Library.
Fountain and plaza area.

In 1967, the Southern Indiana Higher Education, Inc., (SIHE) acquired 1,400 acres (6 km2). Since September 1969, the University has occupied 300 acres (1.2 km2), most of which was donated by SIHE. Southern Indiana Higher Education, Inc. still owns 1,100 acres (4 km2) for development of higher education opportunities.

A new building for the School of Business, opened in 1990, was named the Orr Center in honor of Governor Robert Orr, an Evansville native. Since then, four other large buildings have been built for the Liberal Arts, Nursing, and Education divisions, as well as a large fitness center for students and faculty. The number of classrooms has more than doubled since the campus was first opened, but the University is still planning for continued growth.

Construction is complete on the David L. Rice Library, which opened in the fall semester of 2006. The building is five stories and features computer access, study tables/rooms, and copy machines located on each floor. With the growth of extracurricular organizations, the administration chose to convert the old library building into an extension of the University Center and is connected by an elevated walkway. A new Business and Engineering Center is being built along with several other construction and renovation projects.

Major Facilities

  • Byron C. Wright Administration Building (1969)
  • Science Center (1969), expanded (2003)
  • Former Library (1971)
  • University Center (1974); expanded (1996); expanded (2010)
  • Technology Center (1975)
  • Physical Activities Center (1980)
  • Robert D. Orr Center (1990)
  • Frank F. McDonald Apartment Complex (1994)
  • Joseph E. O’Daniel Apartment Complex (1994)
  • Health Professions Center (1995)
  • Liberal Arts Center (1999)
  • Art Studio (1999)
  • Newman Hall (1999)
  • Governors Hall (2000)
  • Recreation and Fitness Center (2001), expanded (2009)
  • O’Bannon Hall (2001)
  • Education Center (2003)
  • Ruston Hall (2004)
  • David L. Rice Library (2006)
  • Business and Engineering Center (2010)



USI reported in the 2006-2007 academic year that it employed 557 full-time faculty, lecturers, and academic administrators, and 264 part-time faculty.[9] Each college is led by a dean who reports to the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. The Indiana University School of Medicine - Evansville Center, housed in the Health Professions Center, is one of eight regional divisions throughout the state. The center provides classes for first- and second-year medical students. President Linda L. M. Bennett is a noted political scientist and joint-author with her husband Stephen Earl Bennett of Living with Leviathan: Americans Coming to Terms with Big Government.

School Media

The university contains within it, three media outlets including the award winning 820 The Edge/WSWI radio station, Access USI the student-run news program and The Shield student newspaper. All programs are completely student-run entities within the campus that deal with student and community related topics and discussions.

Special Programs

The university hosts a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies department (CINS) incorporating International Studies, Humanities, Gender Studies, and Classical Studies. The director is Patricia Aakhus.


The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and carries several discipline-specific accreditations as well.


USI is home to the Southern Indiana Review, a widely-respected national literary journal. Stories published in the Southern Indiana Review have been anthologized in the Best American Short Stories and the Best American Essays.


Also see: Sports in Evansville.

The University of Southern Indiana Athletic Department is a competitive member of the NCAA Division II and the Great Lakes Valley Conference. USI sponsors 15 varsity intercollegiate sports. Since 1990, all 15 Screaming Eagles teams have participated in their respective national tournaments and/or were ranked at the national level. USI claimed one national championship (men's basketball, 1995 under head coach Bruce Pearl), finished three times as the national finalist (men's basketball, 1994 and 2004; and women's basketball, 1997), and earned one third-place finish (men's cross country, 1982). The men's and women's cross country/track teams have produced five national championships since 1997:

  • Elly Rono won three individual titles (1997 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships, 1998 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 5,000 Meters, and 1998 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000 m).
  • Heather Cooksey won the 2004 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000 Meters.
  • Candace Perry won the 2005 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the Long Jump.

The Screaming Eagles won the 2003-04 GLVC All-Sports Trophy by nine points, the largest margin of victory since Lewis edged USI by 9.5 points in 1986-87. In the 25 year history of the trophy, USI has finished first three times (2003-04, 1993-94, 1982-83); second nine times; third twice; and fourth three times.

Tragedy struck the University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles men's basketball team on Thursday, January 14, 2010, when 6-foot-8, 260-pound senior post player Jeron Lewis, 21, fell and hit his head at around 9:05 PM during a play in a game at the Owensboro Sportscenter against Kentucky Wesleyan College (which ultimately ended with USI winning 74-69) after his feet became tangled. Afterwards, he went into convulsions as he was being tended to by trainers, which stopped when he was put on a gurney. He was taken by ambulance to Owensboro Medical Health System, but he was pronounced dead at 9:52 PM. His teammates and coaches were told 30 minutes later. An autopsy was scheduled by Daviess County, Kentucky coroner Bob Howe; it was discovered that the death may have been cardiac-related (possibly due to a disease of the heart that caused an enlarged heart, or cardiomegaly). Lewis had earlier missed two games in December to be in his Fort Wayne, Indiana hometown for the birth of his son. He was a transfer from Northeastern Junior College in Colorado. In a statement, university president Linda Bennett said that he had been an excellent example of a student-athlete for his colleagues.

Men's Basketball Controversy

On May 13, 2009, USI submitted to the NCAA a list of NCAA rules violations committed by the men's basketball coaching staff, including Head Coach Rick Herdes. Herdes had posted a 200-59 record after taking over as head coach when Bruce Pearl left for the head coaching job at UW–Milwaukee in 2001.

USI discovered that Herdes had committed six violations of NCAA recruiting and academic eligibility rules; when the announcement was made Herdes promptly resigned.

Violations and results are as followed:

Three of the violations are related to extra benefits concerning transportation, one concerning academics, and the last concerning improper communication with a prospective student athlete.

1. Two players are deemed ineligible from the beginning of the 2008-09 season. Reinstatement of the student athletes by the NCAA remains a possibility.

2. Forfeiture of all men's basketball games from the 2008-09 season.

3. Return of $9,362 in funds provided by the NCAA Division II for the men’s basketball team’s participation in the 2009 NCAA Division II Tournament.

USI Athletic Director Jon Mark Hall went on record as saying:

"Integrity and compliance are two of the cornerstones of all of our programs. I feel that the issues are contained within the men’s basketball program alone. We will do what is right and will address mistakes that have been made, no matter what the outcome is. This men’s basketball program has a great tradition. We will begin a search immediately for someone to lead this program.”[10]

Notable alumni


Historic New Harmony

In cooperation with the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, USI manages programs and properties in Historic New Harmony, site of two historic communal societies of the early 19th century, the Harmony Society and the Robert Owen/William Mclure communal experiment.[11]

Center for Communal Studies

The USI Center for Communal Studies is a clearinghouse for information, a research facility, and a sponsor of activities related to historic and contemporary intentional communities. The center encourages and facilitates meetings, classes, scholarships, publications, networking and public interest in communal groups past and present, here and abroad. The center archives contain primary and secondary materials on more than 100 historic communes and several hundred collective, cooperative, and co-housing communities founded since 1965. Noted communal scholars have donated their private collections and their extensive research notes and papers to the center archives.

The New Harmony Theatre

The New Harmony Theatre is a professional theatre operating under an agreement with Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

In fall 2007, USI Theatre partnered with The New Harmony Theatre on The Repertory Project, which allows top Theatre students to perform with Equity actors. Student actors and stage managers involved in The Repertory Project earn points toward joining the union, a membership that is considered the “gold standard” for theatre professionals.

Historic Southern Indiana

Historic Southern Indiana (HSI) is an outreach organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and promoting the abundant historical, natural, and recreational resources of southern Indiana.

Center for Applied Research

The Center for Applied Research (CAR) works with businesses and organizations throughout the region to help leverage the intellectual capabilities of the university, matching faculty, staff, and students with regional businesses and organizations to conduct research, consulting, and other applied projects.


  1. ^ "Statement of Financial Position". USI Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-25.  
  2. ^ "University of Southern Indiana". Indiana College Network. Retrieved 2006-12-18.  
  3. ^ "University of Southern Indiana Profile". ISEP. Retrieved 2007-01-03.  
  4. ^ a b "USI independence was struggle". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  
  5. ^ "University of Southern Indiana". Indiana College Network. Retrieved 2006-12-18.  
  6. ^ "USI Master Plan". University of Southern Indiana. Retrieved 2007-04-22.  
  7. ^ "Tru Collaborators". The Real U. Retrieved 2007-01-11.  
  8. ^ "USI Fact Sheet". University of Southern Indiana. Retrieved 2007-01-23.  
  9. ^ "USI Fact Sheet". University of Southern Indiana. Retrieved 2007-01-23.  
  10. ^ "USI Violations". University of Southern Indiana. Retrieved 2009-05-13.  
  11. ^ "Historic New Harmony". Retrieved 2008-10-29.  

External links

Coordinates: 37°57′45″N 87°40′34″W / 37.962589°N 87.67607°W / 37.962589; -87.67607


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