63 SCHOOLS in INDIANA
Indiana’s name – “Indian Land” – hints at its history, but a full picture of the Hoosier State means seeing how the former Northwest Territory has transformed over two centuries into America’s Heartland. Settled by New Englanders and Southerners who crossed the Appalachian Mountains for land and opportunity, Indiana helped define the Corn Belt, while smart investment in a diversity of industries kept the state from falling prey to the Rust Belt as deindustrialization in the 1980s and 90s wracked other Midwestern states. From pharmaceutical manufacturing (as the home of Eli Lilly and Mead Johnson), to high-skilled, heavy manufacturing, to traditional corn, dairy, and soybean farming, Indiana has come into the 21st century as a model of quiet confidence.
Education has always been important to Indiana, the first state in the union to mandate a state-funded public school system in its constitution, and a well-educated population has been a major part of Indiana’s stability and success. Indiana’s population – primarily Caucasian, but with a quickly-growing Hispanic minority – is generally centered around small cities rather than major metropolitan areas; Indianapolis is the only major city. But this arrangement has allowed Indiana to build a strong population of college educated professionals and highly skilled workers while avoiding the higher costs and dangers of large cities.
Indiana has an impressive and exceptional system of private liberal arts colleges and research institutions, rather out of proportion to its size and population. More than 80% of Hoosiers are Christian, and the largest single denomination is Catholic; the university founded for this population, the University of Notre Dame, has gone on to become one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Other Christian colleges and university from a wide range of denominations include Valparaiso University, Taylor University, and Wabash College, some of the highest-ranked institutions in their class. And of course Purdue University is a nationally-known and globally-respected public research institution, giving Indiana a reputation far beyond its humble, modest character.