Indiana University’s new president-elect, Pamela Whitten, began a tour of IU’s regional campuses in South Bend this week.
Whitten comes to IU from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where she’s been president since 2018.
She kicked off her tour at IU’s South Bend campus, where she said she got her first chance to spend quality time with students.
“They are going to be the center of the universe at IU,” Whitten said. “I’m looking forward to the chance to go ahead and dive in and figure out what we’re doing wonderfully for them and what we can improve.”
Whitten will be IU’s 19th president, but only the first woman to lead the institution, which she called a “gratifying” opportunity.
“I grew up in a time when you didn’t necessarily see women in these roles, and you didn’t necessarily imagine yourself in them,” Whitten said. “So it’s personally very rewarding to be part of the generation that’s breaking through those barriers.”
In addition to providing for students and supporting faculty in their research, Whitten said she hopes Indiana University will continue to have a “significant impact” on the state’s economy, workforce and general quality of life under her leadership.
“Certainly, we want to continue our role in terms of having a significant impact on public health throughout the state as well, but also other areas that impact quality of life as well,” she said. “The arts, for example, at IU, are so impressive, so what an opportunity to contribute to the overall cultural effect and impact as well.”
Whitten will officially become president of Indiana University on July 1.