People yearn to learn here, to grow, to better themselves and their communities.

That is reflected in an explosion of educational opportunities for a growing diversity of residents and students in Richmond and the immediate area.

Enrollments in higher learning institutions are rising. Classes and educational programs are offered  at four thriving colleges and on the campus of Reid Health, at churches and in community rooms, in art centers and seminaries, in museums and other places.

The local public school districts in Wayne County have made significant recent gains in test scores and graduation rates and are reaching out with new programs, including hosting teachers and students from China. Seton Catholic’s flourishing program is leading local growth in private schools.

Richmond can boast more than 11,000 students on its college campuses, which include Earlham College, Ivy Tech Community College and regional campuses of Indiana and Purdue universities. Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion serve dozens more for postgraduate studies.

IU East and the Purdue College of Technology have a growing number of graduates working overseas. Richmond’s diversity is growing along with development of the campuses and their relationships with the community. There is a solid focus on partnering resources to ensure a stronger future. Ivy Tech is positioned to help train workforces through programs customized to the needs of employers.

Earlham College has long encouraged diversity and overseas programs in one of the oldest and highly-regarded liberal-arts program in the country. It represents the roots of Quaker influence here. Quakers first settled Richmond in 1806 and the college was founded in 1847. Earlham boasts having students from more than 80 countries in a population that numbers about 1,200. It also boasts being ranked in the Top 60 of colleges nationally by Forbes Magazine.

Changes also have become the norm at IU East, which is adding classrooms, degree options and sports programs.

Privately-financed housing units are available at The Annex near the IU East campus. IU East shares a campus location just north of the Reid Health campus with the Purdue College of Technology (CoT) and with Ivy Tech. All are involved in partner projects to help businesses develop skilled employees and managers.

In that realm, we also can boast a bounty of community-educational initiatives: Those include Manufacturing Matters, a program designed to match worker skills to the needs of companies. The community has identified a gap and is working to address it.

The training is provided through the Corporate College at Ivy Tech and the funding sources are growing. The program has a huge footprint, with resources that range from economic development entities to social service agencies to businesses themselves. Manufacturers are key partners in the initiative.


The Purdue campus also has a strong focus on progressing business and industry in Richmond and the immediate area. Students can earn the same degrees locally as those at the main campus in Lafayette — and can also learn and update skills that are needed in technical fields. The school adds another diverse element to the local connection between education and economic development.

People often are invited to provocative discussions by national and worldwide leaders to IU East and Earlham College: from politicians to Nobel Prize winners to media pundits, from scholars to movie directors to world-class musicians.