New Ferguson International Center breaks ground at IU Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has broken ground on the new Stephen L. and Connie J. Ferguson International Center, which will serve as the hub of international engagement through its study abroad and international student programs and services.

The 40,000-square-foot center will be at the corner of Jordan Avenue and Seventh Street in a bustling area of campus near IU's Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Herman B Wells Library and Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. It will house programming and support services for students who have studied or are interested in studying abroad, as well as the university's large international student population. It will also provide opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between these programs and services in the Ferguson International Center and the Hamilton Lugar School, contributing to a model that will be unique in the Big Ten and one of the few of its kind in the U.S.

The center was funded, in part, by a $5 million gift from IU alumni Steve and Connie Ferguson.

"The Ferguson International Center will enable us to more effectively serve the thousands of IU students who study abroad each year as well as IU's international students," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "And, for the first time, it will bring together the IU staff members from various locations across the Bloomington campus who do an outstanding job of supporting these communities, as well as other staff members who support additional aspects of IU's international engagement mission.

"On behalf of IU, I want to offer our most sincere and grateful thanks to Connie and Steve Ferguson for their dedicated service to the university, and their willingness to support this much-needed center through their extraordinarily generous gift."

Wednesday's groundbreaking was held as IU continues to celebrate its Bicentennial Year, during which the university has honored its longstanding traditions of international affairs and international studies. The IU Bloomington campus ranks sixth in the nation, out of around 1,000 colleges and universities, in terms of the number of students who study abroad. IU also has one of the nation's largest and most diverse international student bodies, with more than 7,600 students from 147 countries across all campuses.

The new center will foster greater interaction and collaboration between international students and those who study abroad, while providing space for meetings and other functions by the roughly 100 formal and informal internationally focused student organizations on the Bloomington campus. It will also host academic and government delegations from other countries who regularly visit IU, highlighting IU's standing as one of the country's most globally engaged universities.

"Connie and I discussed this gift at length," Steve Ferguson said. "This is a special project for personal reasons and for what it means for our international and domestic students. The location is actually part of my childhood; I grew up down the street from the building site and walked by it every day on the way to school. Situated in the heart of campus on the Jordan Avenue corridor, the location could not be better.

Read the full story on News at IU Bloomington