University of Southern Indiana

Dared to Do It - Rebels with Causes

They said it couldn't be done.

They said it shouldn't be done.

They were wrong.

Until the mid-1960s, there was a statewide agreement among university presidents and many politicians in Indiana that no city would have a public, higher education institution where a private college existed. That was the situation in Evansville. But the people hungered for an affordable education option, one that didn't force them to leave the life they knew to earn it. One that kept them in the community with family and loved ones as they obtained an education, gaining knowledge needed in the workforce.

Supported by citizens and city leaders, the University dared to go against the gatekeepers and fought for the establishment of today's USI. The institution, however, would be nothing without the students who dared to make a better life for themselves.

The Class of 1971, the University’s first graduating class, is 50 years old this year. Many who enrolled were nontraditional students fresh from the fields of Vietnam's war zones in the late 60s. Others were young mothers or innocent high schoolers seeking to make something of their lives. In this section, we proudly share the first graduating classes' reflective stories of triumph and the voices of many alumni over the decades.

Edward Daum

Charlie Scheidegger

Gerald "Jerry" King

Karen Markham

Patricia Hougland Phillips

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