During the 16 years that Gerald "Jerry" Bepko served as chancellor of IUPUI, the campus experienced unprecedented growth, both in the dramatic expansion of the university's physical campus and in terms of the breadth of academic programs and research opportunities. While IUPUI was expanding under Bepko's leadership — from 1986 to 2003 — major projects and improvements were transforming the city of Indianapolis.
According to Chancellor Bepko, "Along with the city, IUPUI changed its mission and its aspirations."
Chancellor Bepko's vision ultimately established IUPUI as a leading urban university, ranked among the highest in its peer group and an integral component of central Indiana's research corridor. Chancellor Bepko brought the various programs of IUPUI academically and geographically together on the downtown campus, and he oversaw the construction of almost two dozen buildings, including University Library, Inlow Hall, and the Engineering, Science and Technology Building. His emphasis on undergraduate education culminated in the creation of University College in 1998.
During Chancellor Bepko's tenure, enrollment grew by nearly 25 percent and external support for faculty activities skyrocketed from $38 million in 1986 to more than $200 million in 2002. Chancellor Bepko led the first six years of the seven-year Campaign for IUPUI, which generated more than one billion dollars before its conclusion in 2004, the first fundraising campaign in Indiana to do so.
Following Bepko's service as chancellor, he was selected unanimously by the IU Board of Trustees to serve as interim president of Indiana University from January 1, 2003, to August 31, 2003. Bepko served in this role after the resignation of Myles Brand, who became NCAA president and prior to the appointment of Adam Herbert as the 17th president of the university.