Founded in 1930, Indiana Technical College offered an accelerated engineering degree to provide a pathway for engineering students into the workforce during the Great Depression. Today, we are known as Indiana Tech, a comprehensive university with the core purpose of providing career-focused, professional programs of higher education. What follows are highlights and milestones for each decade.
The Birth of Indiana Tech
In the early 1900s, John A. Kalbfleisch came to the United States from his native Palmerston, Ontario, Canada, to teach and, ultimately, lead institutions of higher education. From 1906 through 1927, he was an educator at International Business College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and served as its president during his last two years there.
In 1930, Kalbfleisch founded Indiana Technical College (what is now Indiana Tech). He envisioned a new approach to formal education. His model featured accelerated coursework—focused on engineering, science and mathematics—that would quickly prepare students to enter a rapidly evolving field of engineering.
Kalbfleisch faced a tough sell, however. The nation was still reeling from the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929 and in the midst of the economic downturn that ensued, the Great Depression. For two years, Kalbfleisch and his wife, Katherine, traveled by car through Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and places beyond to sell their vision to prospective students and their parents.
Money was so tight for this fledgling university at its startup, it lacked furnishings and equipment in some areas. There are stories from this time that students actually bartered items that could help the school fulfill its teaching mission in lieu of paying tuition. Among the items exchanged for classes were a 1929 Chevrolet, honey, chickens, brooms and 100-pound bags of popcorn.
The Kalbfleisch couple persevered, however, and opened the original location of Indiana Technical College in the 200 block of East Washington Boulevard in a former mortuary. Classes began there in 1931 with 179 students enrolled that first year. A bachelor’s degree in electrical, structural, civil or radio engineering could be completed in 24 months.
For Kalbfleisch, the pressure of starting Indiana Technical College took its toll on his health. He died on Feb. 9, 1936, of a heart attack at age 55.
Fortunately for the university, it hired Archie T. Keene in July 1936 to take the reins and lead it into a great era of prosperity.
Keene came to Indiana Tech from the University of Detroit where he was chair of the speech department. Although his background was not in engineering sciences, Keene was a dynamic, energetic man of vision who understood quality education and how to manage money in an educational setting.
Under his leadership, which lasted until 1963, Indiana Tech experienced profound changes as it grew in size, impact and reputation around the world.
- Jan. 10, 1931: Articles of Incorporation for Indiana Technical College were approved by Indiana Secretary of State Frank Mayr, Jr.
- March 17, 1932: First Indiana Tech fraternity, Alpha Gamma Upsilon, was approved.
- 1933: Indiana Technical College’s first graduating class consisted of 13 electrical engineers.
- 1937: First formal commencement ceremony was held.
- 1938: Student council asked administration to change university colors from black and gold to black and orange.
- 1939: Indiana Tech’s library started in the building’s basement with a $200 budget for books.
- 1945: G.I. Bill® boosted post-war enrollment, leading to priority list: former students returning from service were given first priority, followed by other ex-servicemen. Other prospective students were put on a waiting list.
- 1948: College reorganized under state law as non-for-profit endowed college, with $100,000 endowment from former board.
- 1948: First alumni board was established with J. Forrest Bigelow as chair.
- 1953: Indiana Tech offered Missouri Synod Lutherans $1 million for 20 acres of the Concordia College campus.
- 1955: First classes held on current campus at Washington and Anthony boulevards due to overflowing enrollments at the original site.
- 1957: Indiana Tech officially moved to the current campus.
- 1957: The college’s first construction project, a science building, began thanks to a donation from C.A. Dana. The Dana Building is still in use, but was renamed the Zollner Engineering Center after being renovated and doubled in size in 2000.
- 1958: First female graduate, Anna Reid, earned chemistry degree.
- 1960: College shifted from accelerated two-year bachelor’s degrees to four-year program.
- 1960: Indiana Tech obtained the first computer in Fort Wayne, an IBM 1620.
- 1962: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools granted accreditation.
- 1962: Original McMillen Library was dedicated with significant funding from Dale McMillen. The building no longer exists, but the library still gets support from the McMillen Foundation.
- 1963: Indiana Technical College officially changed name to Indiana Institute of Technology.
- 1963: Edward Thoma became president after Keene retired.
- 1963: Two campus buildings were purchased—the Concordia High School building, which is now the Cunningham Business Center, and a Kroger supermarket, which is now Warrior Fieldhouse.
- 1963: Kalbfleisch Hall built with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Pierson.
- 1967: Edward Dugan appointed president after resignation of Thoma.
- 1969: Indiana Tech introduced the area’s first computer science degree.
- 1972: Charles Terrell became president after the resignation of Dugan.
- 1977: Thomas Scully became president.
- 1977: Business and accounting degree programs began.
- 1982: The Extended Studies Division, which is now the College of Professional Studies (CPS), began offering correspondence courses for adults.
- 1985: Donald Andorfer appointed president after death of Scully.
- 1987: Indiana Tech began innovative accelerated 6-week classes in the College of Professional Studies.
- 1988: Indiana Tech extended beyond Fort Wayne with CPS classes in Indianapolis.
- 1990: Schaefer Center, with gym and dining hall, dedicated in honor of Edward J. Schaefer.
- 1995: A third Indiana Tech campus was established in South Bend.
- 1999: Mechanical and electrical engineering programs earned ABET accreditation.
- 1999: MBA program began in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.
- 1999: CPS opened location in Warsaw.
- 2001: Pierson Center and Abbott Center built.
- 2001: First Indiana Tech location in Huntington opened. It moved to current facility in 2007.
- 2002: Engineering building renovated, doubled in size, and rededicated as Zollner Engineering Center.
- 2003: Arthur E. Snyder, appointed after retirement of Andorfer.
- 2003: Elkhart campus opened.
- 2004: Andorfer Commons opened with dining hall, McMillen Library, movie theater, bowling alley, recreation center, chapel, gift shop, and conference rooms.
- 2004: Wellness Center opened in Schaefer Center space formerly used as cafeteria.
- 2004: Yergens-Rogers Hall built to offer apartment-style campus housing for growing traditional undergraduate enrollment.
- 2006: The Cyber Warriors, Indiana Tech’s cyber defense team, wins its first of 13 total Indiana Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions.
- 2008: Kendallville location opened and South Bend campus moved to Mishawaka.
- 2008: Evans-Kimmell Hall opened.
- 2009: Frank & Anne Oropeza Hall opened.
- 2009: Fishers campus opened.
- 2009: Indiana Tech launched northeast Indiana’s first doctoral program, the Ph.D. in Global Leadership.
- 2010: Warrior Row A opened with campus’s first town-house style housing.
- 2010: Warrior Athletic Center built to provide additional space for growing athletic programs.
- 2010: Administration building, originally built in 1857 and named the Seitz Center in 1994, reopened as Wilfred Uytengsu Sr. Center after yearlong energy-efficient renovation. The renovation earned LEED Gold designation.
- 2011: CPS established first campus outside of Indiana, in Louisville, Ky.
- 2011: Warrior Row B built.
- 2011: The women’s lacrosse team wins the National Women’s Lacrosse League national championship—the university’s first national athletic title.
- 2012: Warrior Row C opened to provide additional suite-style housing for freshmen.
- 2012: Additional CPS campuses opened in Evansville, Jeffersonville, and Northern Kentucky.
- 2013: Indiana Tech Law School opened.
- 2013: The men’s and women’s track teams win their NAIA outdoor track and field national championships; since then, the track and field programs have combined to win 13 national titles.
- 2014: Academic Center opened.
- 2015: Cunningham Reinvention is complete.
- 2015: Chicago locations opened at Naperville and Wilmette.
- 2016: Detroit location opened.
- 2017: Enrollments rise above 10,000 for the first time ever.
- 2017: Dr. Karl W. Einolf becomes ninth president after retirement of Dr. Arthur E. Snyder.
- 2018: Abbott Center is renovated.
- 2018: Dedication of Keene Building.
- 2018: Construction begins on Warrior Park.
- 2018: Office of Diversity and Inclusion is created.
- 2018: Ground is broken for Summit residence hall.
- 2018: Lafayette, Indiana, located is opened.
- 2019: Softball team beats Taylor University, 3-2, in the first-ever softball game at Warrior Park.
- 2019: Men’s hockey team wins the North American Intercollegiate Hockey Association (NAIHA) national championship.
- 2019: Warrior Row C is renamed Kalbfleisch Hall.
- 2020: Women’s ice hockey is added as an athletic program.
- 2020: Bowling Green, Kentucky, campus is added.