Ivy Tech student delivering commencement address

The Herald-Times
Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015 12:00 am
By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com 

The commencement address for Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will be given by one of the college’s own.

Jeffery “L.J.” Gearhart II was named Student of the Year by the American Council on Education. The Student of the Year Award is presented annually by the council on education to an individual who has benefited academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce training.

The thought of continuing his education after high school had never crossed Gearhart’s mind until he met with an Ivy Tech adviser and learned about the partnership between Ivy Tech and McDonald’s Management Development Program, also known as Hamburger University.

Gearhart transferred credits he obtained going through the Management Development Program to Ivy Tech-Bloomington, where he earned his technical certificate in business administration in December 2014. He also received a certificate in human resource management in May, and is on track to earn an associate’s degree in applied science in business administration in August.

Gearhart was able to reach those academic accomplishments while working between 45 and 50 hours per week as the general manager of the McDonald’s restaurant on West Third Street, where he also teaches shift management excellence courses for Bloomington McDonald’s restaurants.

In addition to the award, Gearhart was given a $500 scholarship during a ceremony in March in Washington, D.C.

Commencement is set to begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the Indiana University Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St. More than 1,200 associate’s degrees and certificates will be conferred to graduates, according to a news release from Ivy Tech.

During the ceremony, an honorary degree will be presented to Lee J. Marchant, Ivy Tech Community College state trustee and state foundation director, for his support of Ivy Tech students over the past 25 years.

Marchant, along with his wife, Annie, established two endowed nursing scholarships, both awarding nearly 55 financial awards to nursing students. He was named Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s Benefactor of the Year in 2013. The campus has named its School of Nursing building after him to honor his support of the regional campus.

Thirty students will also be recognized for outstanding academic achievements. They were chosen by Ivy Tech’s academic program chairs.

Those attending the event can park at the Poplar or Atwater garages and take a free shuttle provided by Ivy Tech that will loop back and forth to the IU Auditorium. The ceremony is expected to last about an hour.

Ivy Tech-Bloomington graduation:by the numbers

134: Number of students graduating with honors

10: Number of students graduating Summa Cum Laude for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average

23: Degrees that will be conferred to military veterans

15: Number of international students graduating


Commencement will begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the Indiana University Auditorium.

Chamber to honor community leadership with Women Excel Awards

The Herald Times
Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2015
By Kurt Christian 812-331-4350 | kchristian@heraldt.com 

For the first time in the Women Excel Bloomington award ceremony’s six-year history, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce will present a posthumous award celebrating community spirit and leadership.

The award luncheon will honor Linda Simon of Stampfli Associates CPA and seven other local women for leadership, business acumen, entrepreneurship and community involvement. Simon, who was a board member on organizations ranging from Girls Inc. to the Chamber of Commerce, died in September 2014 following a battle with cancer.

“We had an outpouring of requests from individuals who knew and respected Linda’s passionate leadership, asking if such an honor could be considered,” said Jeb Conrad, chamber president and CEO, in a news release. “It was an easy decision. Linda was a remarkable businesswoman, leader, mentor and community volunteer who truly exemplified what the WEB Awards are all about.”

The luncheon will be 11:30-1 p.m. Wednesday at Indiana University’s Henke Hall of Champions. Advance registration is required, and space is limited. The cost is $37 per person, and $450 for a table sponsorship. Doors open at 11 a.m.

Simon moved to Bloomington in 1967 after attending Brooklyn College and procuring a master’s degree in mathematics from NYU. She later became a certified public accountant and earned an MBA from the Indiana University School of Business while raising three children. After becoming an accountant, Simon founded Stampfli Associates CPA, where she served as president for many years. Simon’s involvement as a mentor and volunteer in the community won her a lifetime achievement award from the city of Bloomington in 2013 for her service and leadership on behalf of women.

Conrad had a special connection with Simon in the two years that he’s been with the chamber. Simon was a part of the search committee that hired Conrad, and according to the chamber president, she was “a tough interviewer who was knowledgeable and intuitive.”

“She embodied exactly what these awards are for: women in the community and in our membership that really take the bull by the horns, mentor others, give time and money, and commit themselves to the community to make Bloomington a better place,” Conrad said in a telephone interview. “It just seems perfect to honor such a person with this award, because she’s missed by the chamber, her family and her friends as well. We wanted to honor her passion for the community, and we felt it was important that we enshrined everything she’s done for the community and Chamber.”

Others being honored at the 2015 Women Excel Bloomington Awards Luncheon include: Kelly Frank, owner of Social Legends; Carol Weiss-Kennedy, director of community health of IU Health Bloomington; Cindy Kinnarney, market president of First Financial Bank; MaryFrances McCourt, senior vice president and CFO of Indiana University; Tina Peterson, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County; Jennie Vaughan, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington; and Suzy Yeagley, owner of Bloomington Body Bar.

Sponsors for the event include Cook Group, Smithville Communications, Solution Tree, IU Health Bloomington, Markey’s Rental & Staging, Wal-Mart and Cassady Electrical Contractors. Supporting sponsors include French Lick Resort, GE Appliances and German American Bank.

To reserve a seat or to learn more about the 2015 Women Excel Bloomington Awards, visit the chamber’s website at www.chamberbloomington.org, or call the Chamber at 812-336-6381.


Ivy Tech readies grads for next stage

The Herald-Times
Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2015 6:48 am
Editorial Staff

Clarence and Elizabeth Stratton have the same dream: to open a bed and breakfast together.

But first, the husband and wife will go through commencement together at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus.

The two are among the Ivy Tech students who will receive 1,254 associate degrees and certificates Friday at 6 p.m. in the Indiana University Auditorium. Their stories are two of precisely 1,254 success stories the college can claim. Each one is a little different, but all resulted in someone reaching a goal.

Clarence Stratton, 36, dropped out of high school but decided he should seek his GED, which he did at the Broadview Adult Education Center. He then attended Ivy Tech and will receive his associate degree and a technical certificate in hospitality administration in culinary arts, a certificate as a Certified Pastry Culinarian and a certificate in hospitality management.

Elizabeth Stratton, 28, made the dean’s list nearly every semester since she enrolled in Ivy Tech in 2012. She will receive an associate degree and technical certificate in business administration, and a certificate in human resource management. She’s not finished with her Ivy Tech education, though. She says in a news release from the college that she’ll be back in the fall to pursue a degree in accounting.

As the Strattons illustrate, Ivy Tech caters to nontraditional college students as well as students who jump straight from high school to the community college. Twenty-three military veterans will go through commencement, for example. Many graduates are parents. Some wanted to change careers. One of the graduates, Mary Baker, is a 59-year-old night custodian who was encouraged by a faculty member to take some classes. She’ll be taking home an associate degree in general studies.

The college also will present an honorary degree to Lee J. Marchant, who has a long list of voluntary and development credits with the community college — enough to have an Ivy Tech building named after him. He’s a long-time member of the Ivy Tech state board of trustees and along with his wife, Annie, has established two endowed nursing scholarships that have provided 55 financial awards to students in nursing. He’s also made large donations to the campus.

He certainly has been a part of Ivy Tech’s success in Bloomington, as have many administrators and members of the faculty and staff.

But the center of attention Friday should be the students who have enrolled on the Ivy Tech Bloomington campus from different places in their lives and a wide array of circumstances. Their efforts will be recognized through their commencement as they embark on the next phase of their lives, better equipped from their experience.

Ivy Tech-Bloomington to award more than 1,250 degrees and certifications to graduates next week

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will hold its annual spring commencement ceremony on Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. in the Indiana University Auditorium, where it will confer 1,254 Associate degrees and certifications to graduates. Conferrals of credentials are up seven percent over last year.

“Commencement is the culminating event for our graduates and their families, and I look forward to celebrating their accomplishments at the ceremony on Friday,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “Just last week, students were on campus in their caps and gowns taking photographs outside of the building, and I’m just so proud of them. It was a reminder of why we do what we do at Ivy Tech.”

The commencement address will be given by graduate, Jeffery “L.J.” Gearhart II, Associate of Science in Business Administration. Gearhart was named Student of the Year by the American Council on Education (ACE), and accepted his award and $500 scholarship in a ceremony held in Washington, D.C. in March. Like many Ivy Tech Community College students, Gearhart worked full time while completing his degree and certifications.

An honorary degree will be presented to Lee J. Marchant, Ivy Tech Community College State Trustee and State Foundation Director, for his steadfast support of Ivy Tech students over the past 25 years. Marchant, along with his wife Annie, established two endowed nursing scholarships, both awarding nearly 55 financial awards to nursing students, to-date. He was named Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s Benefactor of the Year in 2013. The campus has named its School of Nursing building after him to honor his support of the regional campus. Most recently, the Marchants made a significant contribution to Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s Here We Grow Again! $4 million capital campaign to help fund its current expansion.

Some of the graduates who will be celebrated at commencement are a husband and wife, honors students, international students, military veterans, transfer students, employees, and those who have found employment because of their education and training at Ivy Tech.

The number of students graduating with honors is 134, with 10 graduating Summa Cum Laude for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

The campus will confer degrees to 23 military veterans this year, and is graduating 15 international students representing the countries of China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Spain, and United Kingdom.

This May, Ivy Tech-Bloomington is conferring credentials to two students from the newly established School of Computing and Informatics, and the first student to receive credentialing in Entrepreneurship from the School of Business.

Approximately 71 Associate of Science in Nursing degrees and 27 Practical Nursing degrees will be awarded.

There are 63 graduates who are members of Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. Phi Theta Kappa honor society recognizes and encourages scholarship through leadership and academic excellence among two-year college students.

Each year, Ivy Tech-Bloomington recognizes students for outstanding academic achievements. Academic program chairs have chosen 30 students to receive this award. Outstanding Student award recipients include:

Web Application Development – Victoria Laudeman

Computer Information Systems – Grace Ng

Computer Information Technology – Josh Frank

Information Security – William Fletcher

Electrical Engineering Technology – Daniel Ortman

Engineering Technology – Chad Heacox

Radiation Therapy – Bethany Ickes

Biotechnology – Ashley Reed

Fine Arts – Elizabeth Austin

Design Technology – David Shultz

Respiratory Care – Cari Edmonson

Heating and Ventilation Air Conditioning – Jason Rinehart

Homeland Security Public Safety – Mallory Kiel

Paramedic Science – Matthew Luecke

Practical Nursing – Jennifer Grise

Nursing (2) – Heather Varga, Suzanne Wright

Kinesiology – Clay Coppinger

Liberal Arts – Jennifer Musgrave

General Studies – Gregory Lovig

Human Services – Melissa Graham

Health Care Support – Carmen May

Education – Victoria Williams

Early Childhood Education – Heather Honeycutt

Hospitality Administration – Karen Pennington

Criminal Justice – Eric Stevens

Business Administration – Claudia Vieira

Accounting – Barbara Johnson

Office Administration – Anneke Wilson

Paralegal – Michael Schafer

Institute’s message clear call to action

The Herald-Times
Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute for Community Service wrapped up its third and final day of this year’s event with a conversation Friday with Shiza Shahid, who with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, co-founded the Malala Fund, with the mission to champion education and the right to education for girls around the world, especially in developing countries around the world.

The night before, Sir Bob Geldof, Irish philanthropist, musician, world traveler and passionate champion of the world’s most downtrodden, delivered the Institute’s keynote address to a packed house at a hundred-dollar-a-plate fundraising dinner at the Bloomington convention center, with proceeds destined to benefit students at Ivy Tech Bloomington.

Earlier Thursday. voluntters from among Ivy Tech’s students, faculty and staff, spread out across the community to put into practice the ideals the instititute is designed to instill or reinforce.

One group helped preschoolers plant seeds for their spring gardens. Another walked the road that leads to Ivy Tech’s campus, picking up trash, tidying the landscape.

Others volunteered at the animal shelter or in the parks.

These chores are a small start to the kind of commitment that Geldof so elequently articulated as he described the desolaton and hopelessness of the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the north African deserts in the 1980s. It was that desolation that prompted him to launch the first international charity concert Band Aid that led to a series of such concerts that helped wake up the world to the plight of the least fortunated.

His message — one that warns of the dangers facing the world today and of the urgent need for grass roots commitment to build a better path away from calamity — also is a founding ideal of the institute.

Shiza Shahid is the embodiment of that ideal. A Stanford graduate who was a business analyst at McKinsey & Company in the Middle East, now leads the Malala Fund in its work to empower girls through education. Recently named TIME magazine’s “30 Under 30 World Changers,” Shahid is a perfect role model for those many students who want to give more than they take from today’s world.

The institute does its job extremely well, allowing young people the opportunity to consider — to really consider — how they choose to proceed in the wider world.

Believing you can, first step to changing world, says Shiza Shahid at O’Bannon Institute event

By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com

On stage at Ivy Tech’s 12th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service, Shiza Shahid was asked if all the attention she’s gotten in recent years had changed her.

Shahid is the CEO and co-founder of the Malala Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that is devoted to getting access to education for girls all over the world. She has been named one of Time magazine’s 30 Under 30 World Changers and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 social entrepreneurs. She is a graduate of Stanford University, but before all that she was a teenager volunteering in earthquake refugee camps in her native Pakistan.

The recognition she’s gotten in recent years hasn’t necessarily changed her, she said, but it has increased her confidence in the impact she can have, and that’s the most important thing for someone who is trying to make a difference. She said that’s what sets entrepreneurs and successful people apart from others.

“It’s not crazy intelligence or charm,” she said. “It’s believing you can.”

Shahid got to where she is today thanks to a young girl who believed she could change her own circumstances.

Malala Yousafzai, the namesake of the Malala Fund, was born in 1997 in the Swat District of northwestern Pakistan. The daughter of a poet and educational activist who runs a school, Yousafzai began writing an anonymous blog in 2009 for the BBC, expressing her views on education and life under the threat of the Taliban taking over the valley where she lived. During this period, the Taliban issued edicts limiting women’s education.

Shahid first made contact with Yousafzai when she heard about the teen’s blogging and education campaign and wanted to help.

After the blog ended, Yousafzai was featured in a New York Times documentary. In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, and she was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize.

Then, in October 2012, Yousafzai was shot while on her school bus by masked Taliban gunmen. The bullet went through her head, neck and shoulder, but she survived.

“It was their way of saying ‘we’re in power and you don’t get to speak out against us,'” Shahid said.

Yousafzai was moved to England for further treatment at a specialist hospital. Shahid had known Yousafzai for six years at that point and took a leave from her job as an analyst at McKinsey & Co. in Dubai to be with her.

The world had heard about what happened to Yousafzai, and it wanted to know more. Shahid said it was an opportunity to create a movement. She talked with Yousafzai’s parents and they came up with the idea for starting a fund. And they wanted Shahid to run it.

“I was a year into my job; I had a Pakistani passport … and no idea how to run a foundation,” she said. “But OK.”

In 2014 contributions helped the Malala Fund commit more than $3.5 million over three years to 11 local education projects and global initiatives promoting girls’ education in six countries.

“What we do has so many ripple effects,” Shahid said. “And what we don’t do has so many ripple effects.”

Shahid’s talk concluded this year’s O’Bannon Institute for Community Service, which is three days of activities aimed at giving the community an opportunity to come together and discuss topics related to nonprofit organizations, education and political and civic service. It’s named after the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon, in recognition of the role he played in the formation of Indiana’s community college system and in commemoration of his lifetime commitment to community service.

Geldof: Action is needed now more than ever

Musician, activist, philanthropist speaks at O’Bannon Institute

Posted: Friday, May 1, 2015 12:00 am
By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | mreschke@heraldt.com

Sir Bob Geldof told the hundreds of people in the audience Thursday evening at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center that what Ivy Tech Community College is doing is vitally important for the future. He said the problems of the 21st century will not be solved from the top down, but rather from the bottom up. And since the community is where those grass-roots efforts will grow from, a community college such as Ivy Tech plays a very important role.

“I feel we’re in a dangerous state,” he said. “Community action is needed now more than ever.”

Geldof, an activist and musician best known for his efforts in organizing the Live Aid concerts and the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” was the fundraising dinner speaker for the 12th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service.

The O’Bannon Institute is three days of activities aimed at giving the community an opportunity to come together and discuss topics related to nonprofit organizations, education and political and civic service. It’s named after the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon, in recognition of the role he played in the formation of Indiana’s community college system and in commemoration of his lifetime commitment to community service. The dinner is Ivy Tech Bloomington’s annual signature fundraiser.

In his speech, Geldof talked about the need to use the platforms of the day to disseminate ideas that will lead to change.

He said that when he grew up in Ireland, there was one station in Europe, Radio Luxembourg, that was playing rock ‘n’ roll. He said at that time, rock ‘n’ roll was the platform for change. Geldof said he listened to musicians including John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townsend and Bob Dylan. He said he wanted to know more about them, and with no television in his home, he went to the library, found out what those artists were reading and starting reading the same authors.

Dylan was reading James Baldwin, who explored the intricacies of race in his writing. Geldof said he was unable to get his head around the fact that someone could be dehumanized because of the color of their skin.

Geldof said he began to react against that. He was so impassioned that when the South African rugby team came to Ireland, he helped organize a march to protest apartheid in that country.

“I didn’t think it was right that a small group of people could hold total sovereignty over the vast majority,” he said. “So we organized a protest march and 60,000 people showed up. We stopped the game, and I was off.”

After spending his teenage years doing what he could to feed the poor in Dublin, and not doing much school work, Geldof said, he eventually dropped out and ended up in Canada working on an underground newspaper. That wasn’t going so well, and one day, utterly bored, he went to a pub and met some men who wanted to start a band.

Geldof’s musical career would eventually flourish. In the late 1970s, he recorded several hits in the United Kingdom with the Boomtown Rats, including the worldwide hit “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

As the 1980s came along, things began to slow down musically for Geldof, and with his daughter of 9 months sitting between him and his wife one evening, they watched a BBC newscast about the Ethiopian civil war and a famine of biblical proportions that it had created.

“People were dying of want in a world of surplus,” he said.

This newscast struck him and he got in touch with Scottish musician and songwriter Midge Ure to organize a supergroup of British and Irish musicians to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Geldof hoped it would raise a few hundred thousand pounds for charity. It ended up raising 8 million pounds within 12 months of the release. That’s when Geldof realized something.

“This is a political lobby,” he said. “Every dollar in the charity box is a vote.”

The song led to several charity events such as Live Aid, which was one of the largest-scale satellite linkups and television broadcasts of all time.

Geldof said where rock ‘n’ roll was once the platform of change, it became pop music — and now it’s something everyone in the room he was speaking to had.

“In all our pockets is the greatest invention … ever,” he said. “The Internet.”

He said the world is in a different age now that requires different thoughts, but we still need to take care of each other and be kinder.

“There will be wars and pandemics,” he said. “We should be better able to deal with those now than before.”

Gearhart named Student of the Year by ACE

Special to the Herald Times

Jeffery “L.J.” Gearhart II, a McDonald’s restaurant general manager and student at Ivy Tech Community College, is the American Council on Education’s 2014 Student of the Year.

ACE is a national association that represents college presidents.

Gearhart, 24, of Bloomington, was presented with the award at ACE’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., March 16.

The Student of the Year Award is presented annually by ACE to an individual who has benefited academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce or military training.

Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievements in their community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career and education.

“I am honored to work for a company that offers ACE credit recommendations to assist me and other learners in obtaining the college degrees and certifications that will help us advance our personal and professional ambitions,” Gearhart said. “My goal is to inspire others the way I have been inspired by my mentors.”

ACE’s college credit recommendation service and military evaluations are forms of credit for prior learning.

The programs evaluate employers’ workplace education and training programs, or military courses and occupations, and recommend academic credit when that learning is college level.

“Like so many nontraditional students, Jeffery successfully balances the demands of family and professional responsibilities even as he works to gain his degree,” said Deborah Seymour, ACE’s assistant vice president for education attainment and innovation.

Gearhart got a $500 scholarship to help continue his education.

Gearhart currently is a general manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Bloomington, where he also teaches shift management excellence courses at his and four other McDonald’s restaurants in the area.

He has successfully applied credits from classes at McDonald’s Hamburger University to pursue an associate of applied science in business administration degree and a human resources management certificate from Ivy Tech. Prior to receiving this award, he already had received a technical certificate in business administration from Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech recently partnered with McDonald’s to develop a degree crosswalk with the company’s management development program. The partnership allows McDonald’s restaurant and mid-management employees in the management development program to transfer up to 21 credit hours of courses taken at Hamburger University toward an associate degree.