Indiana Daily Student
By Alli Friedman | IDS
UPDATED AT 12:38 AM ON Nov. 22, 2013
After 22 years of service to Ivy Tech Community College, Bloomington campus Chancellor John Whikehart announced this week his retirement, effective Jan. 15, 2014.
Whikehart has been a leader in Bloomington for 12 years and has increased Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus enrollment by 150 percent since 2001.
“It’s been amazing to witness the transformation of this institution from both a vocational/technical school when I first started in 1991 to a comprehensive community college,” Whikehart said. “It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve had the great good fortune to work with some wonderful faculty and staff on this campus.”
Whikehart said he will miss his co-workers because they’ve provided a family experience.
“We’ve had so many successes on this campus; one of them, clearly, is the relationship we’ve developed with Indiana University Bloomington,” Whikehart said. “In the 12 plus years I’ve been here, the collaborations, the educational partnerships, the transfer credit opportunities that we’ve created for students so they can move seamlessly between our two institutions, has been an accomplishment of which I’m very proud, and I’m very proud to have worked with colleagues at Indiana University.”
During his 12 years, Whikehart established the Center for Civic Engagement, the Center for Lifelong Learning, the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences, the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center.
Kenneth Gros Louis, IU chancellor emeritus, worked closely with Whikehart between 2004 to 2006 to increase the number of courses that could be transferred from IU Bloomington to Ivy Tech.
“He was so wonderful to work with,” Gros Louis said. “Everyone I know in the community is extremely fond of John and our main concern over the last decade is that he was so good that he might be taken away and moved to the central office in Indianapolis.”
Gros Louis said Whikehart greatly improved the Ivy Tech’s quality.
“From my observations over the years, the Bloomington Ivy Tech, especially under John, is probably the best, if not one of the best Ivy Tech campuses in the state, and that’s really due to his leadership and through his involvement,” he said.
Though Whikehart is retiring from Ivy Tech, he said he is not retiring from life.
“I’m going to see what’s out there, explore opportunities, and I hope that I can make or continue to make a contribution to our community, the Bloomington community,” Whikehart said.
Mayor Mark Kruzan has known Whikehart since 1986, when he was elected to be a state representative for Bloomington in the Indiana General Assembly, and Whikehart was on the senate Democratic staff of the Indiana senate.
“He truly loves the student body,” Kruzan said. “It’s important to him that everybody has an opportunity to improve themselves.”
Kruzan said the City of Bloomington has benefited from his leadership because he is a strong advocate for civic engagement who has worked hard to encourage Ivy Tech’s staff, faculty and students to get involved in the community.
“John built a team that transformed Ivy Tech into a true community and regional institution,” Mayor Kruzan said. “His commitment is to the principle that everyone should be empowered to achieve their potential. You just don’t meet that many individuals for whom every person’s future is important to him.”
Follow reporter Alli Friedman on Twitter @afreedz.