History & Traditions
The history of IU Southeast goes back to before 1941, when we were a branch campus of Indiana University located in Jeffersonville. Our story actually goes all the way back to elite British soldiers of the 17th century… the Grenadiers!
Our Humble Beginnings: 1941-1967
With WWII raging, local businessman Floyd McMurray thought it was important for residents of southern Indiana to have access to higher education closer to home. He founded the Indiana University Falls City Area Center in 1941 as an extension of IU. With tuition at $6 a credit hour and a budget of just under $7,000, the first classes were held in local high schools and middle schools. Even then, the community could count on us: nursing students from Kentucky came here for their classes.
In 1945, with a student body of 291, we moved into our own building, and became the Indiana University Jeffersonville Extension Center. For the next 23 years, local students were able to complete their freshman and sophomore coursework before transferring to IU Bloomington. In 1968, we became IU Southeast and awarded our first degrees.
We were such a success that in the early 1970’s the city of New Albany made a fateful decision; they would bring IU Southeast to New Albany!
IU Southeast and the Midnight Move: 1973 to 2006
Local business leaders of New Albany began secret talks to have IU Southeast relocate to New Albany in the early 1970’s. Eventually a deal was stuck and ground was broken at Grant Line Road in 1971. In 1973 the campus quietly relocated to its new home in New Albany.
Over the years, the campus has grown from the initial three buildings (Crestview Hall, Physical Sciences, and the original Library—now University Center South), to its current size of 11 buildings. And after 30 years away, in 2003 we made a return to Jeffersonville when we opened our Graduate Center.
At long-last, Residence Halls: 2008 to the Future
After decades of wishing and hoping (and students lobbying), the Trustees approved Residence Halls—with room to house up to 10% of our student population (a little more than 600 students). Ground was broken in June, 2007. In August 2008, nearly 400 students moved into five brand new lodges. They became the very first students in IU Southeast history to live on campus. They also selected animal mascots for each of the lodges and established new traditions. A second phase of construction will make room for an additional 200+ students.
So, what is a Grenadier?
A Grenadier was a front-line soldier in the early 17th century who initiated attacks with the first grenades. The Grenadiers were lauded for their bravery as those first grenades required precise timing and control. Think of them as the original Special Forces. Today, of course, a Grenadier is the loveable mascot at IU Southeast.
Myth or Fact?
Can you tell the difference?
IU Southeast is the only collegiate athletic program in the U.S. with the Grenadier mascot.
Fact! According to the NAIA, IU Southeast is the only university with a Grenadier mascot—the elite of the elite!
The mascot of IU Southeast was a rat?
Almost Fact! Students were given a chance to name IU Southeast’s first mascot and the River Rat won. However, the River Rat was vetoed in committee, and the noble and elite Grenadier was selected.
The Grenadier is the campus mascot because soldiers settled here.
Myth or Fact – depending on who you ask! Campus lore says that Grenadiers were encamped on the grounds that later became IU Southeast. But others state the mascot is courtesy of a professor with an affinity for British history.