After many years of offering courses at separate locations in Fort Wayne, Indiana University and Purdue University opened the combined campus of IPFW in 1964.
The 1970s were a time of rapid growth, accompanied by the formal merger of the campus administration in 1975. A regional campus of both Indiana University and Purdue University, IPFW is managed by Purdue University under the terms of a management agreement that is renewed every five years. In the 1980s, an academic structure was created to emphasize relationships among departments rather than relationships of departments to Indiana or Purdue mission assignments.
Major facilities opened during the early 1990s included the Visual Arts Building, Williams Theatre and the Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science Building. A new campus facilities master plan was completed in 1995, and IPFW’s first Strategic Plan was completed that same year. The Science Building opened in 1998.
IPFW proactively grew its facilities to handle the swelling ranks of students, which totaled over 10,500 by 2000. The Willis Family Bridge, dedicated in fall 2003, connected the main campus to the new Waterfield Campus across Crescent Avenue. Student Housing on the Waterfield Campus opened in fall 2004, giving students their first opportunity to both live and learn at IPFW. Student Housing expanded when two more buildings opened in fall 2007.
The John and Ruth Rhinehart Music Center opened in fall 2007. The Holiday Inn at IPFW and the Coliseum joined the campus family in 2008.
IPFW's newest additions include the Ron Venderly Family Bridge (2009), and the Medical Education Building (2009). Phase 3 of Student Housing, which added four more buildings with new floor plans tailored to student requests plus a new clubhouse building, opened in fall 2010. Work is currently underway on the Keith Busse Steel Dynamics Alumni Center (projected completion in 2010) and the Student Services Complex (projected completion in 2011).
The campus set a new enrollment record in 2010-2011 of 14,192 total students.