NEW ALBANY —
Now that she’s no longer midstream, IU Southeast Chancellor Sandra Patterson Randles said she’s ready to switch horses.
Current and former administrators, professors, community members and friends of Patterson Randles honored her at a retirement reception on Wednesday. Patterson Randles will retire from the campus on June 30.
After 11 years on the job, Patterson Randles oversaw projects on the campus, including construction of a new library, making IU Southeast the only regional campus with on-campus housing and brought record enrollment and graduate numbers.
Patrick Shoulders, vice president of the IU board of trustees, said her work on the campus has been exemplary.
“In fact, she’s done everything we’ve asked her to do and it has been a privilege and pleasure for me to sit on the sidelines and watch as this campus has prospered,” Shoulders said. “If the measure of success is ‘leave it better than you found it,’ she deserves an ovation.”
Michael McRobbie, president of IU, said Patterson Randles’ leadership brought national recognition to some of the school’s programs — including nursing and their part-time Masters in Business Administration — while bringing on new programs in informatics and criminal justice.
John Applegate, executive vice president for university regional affairs, planning and policy, said while long-range plans for institutions often get built and left alone, Patterson Randles followed through with hers for IU Southeast.
“Through thorough strategic planning, excellent accreditation reviews ... focused development campaigns, in one case extremely focused ... all of these bespoke a person who really knows her job,” Applegate said. “As a result, I always found my visits to Sandra, especially here on her home turf, to be enlightening, sometimes a little bit challenging, and in a word, educational.”
Uric Dufrene, incoming executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the addition of on-campus housing had been discussed for 20 years before it happened.
That and the renovation of the existing facilities on campus really make the university shine in the area, he said.
“We now have facilities that we can proudly share with our stakeholders and allow IU Southeast be the place for community discussions,” Dufrene said. “... Simply, IU Southeast is a better place because of Sandra’s leadership. Her tenacity combined with her willingness to make tough decisions and stand by them has modernized this campus.”
Patterson Randles said through the years, she’s worked with amazing staff members who helped her accomplish her goals for the campus. She said the campus was always in mind with her ambitions, but the people were always her main focus.
She said a former student gave her the best compliment she could ever ask for.
“She told me, ‘When you came in 2002 we were still being called Grant Line High, but not anymore,’ and I am so proud of that,” Patterson Randles said. “I do believe we have a solid foundation in place, we’ve got a great new team of people coming in that’s going to take IU Southeast on its next leg.”
After taking a year away from the campus, Patterson Randles plans on joining the English faculty in the School of Arts and Letters. She said she’s excited to see what lies ahead after her career in academic administration.
“I kind of view this as the Pony Express,” Patterson Randles said. “This leg of journey is over and it’s time for me to get on a new horse and ride in a new direction. Thanks for being great trailmates and thanks for a great ride.”