Ivy Tech Bloomington virtual graduation, drive-thru procession took place June 6

Campus conferred 1,272 credentials

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus hosted a virtual ceremony and vehicle processional for the Class of 2020, and invited all graduates to participate in the Class of 2021 in-person ceremony. In a virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 6, Ivy Tech Bloomington conferred approximately 1,272 associate degrees and certifications, which is up 107 credentials over last year. The virtual ceremony debuted on Ivy Tech Bloomington’s YouTube channel at 6 p.m. Earlier in the day, graduates “processed” in their vehicles through the campus parking lot to pick up their graduation items, including commemorative cords, yard signs, and diploma covers.

Pam Thompson, dean of the School of Nursing, gave the graduation address. Thompson plans to retire this year after 30 years of service at Ivy Tech.

Two honorary degree recipients were recognized, including Pam Thompson, Ivy Tech Bloomington dean of the school of nursing, and Bruce Calloway, Duke Energy district manager.

“Pam and Bruce have made significant contributions to higher education for the benefit of families in our local communities,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “Between Pam’s 30 years of service in nursing education and Bruce’s unwavering philanthropic support for Ivy Tech students through Duke Energy, their honorary degrees are well-earned and it’s a privilege to recognize their positive impact on the communities we serve.”

Ivy Tech Bloomington is graduating 155 Early College high school graduates that have earned credentials through dual enrollment opportunities. Early College graduates have earned either a certificate or statewide transfer general education core (STGEC) technical certificate, which enables high school graduates to go on to a state university with the entire 30 credit hour STGEC completed. Early College graduates are from Paoli, Loogootee, Bloomfield, Eastern Greene, Springs Valley, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Edgewood, Martinsville, West Washington, and the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship.

Ivy Tech Bloomington is also conferring 87 Achieve Your Degree™ (AYD) associate degrees and certifications to 63 graduates, up from 47 last year. AYD is a tuition-deferral program in which Ivy Tech and employers collaborate to offer working adults the opportunity to earn college credentials with no upfront cost to students. Locally, Ivy Tech has agreements with 19 employers, and the college works with more than 160 companies statewide. Employers represent a variety of industries, including technology, medical, financial, and manufacturing.

Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP) graduates have earned 49 associate degrees and certifications, out of 28 graduates. ASAP is a program that offers students, ages 21 and under, the opportunity to earn an associate degree in as little as 11 months. Ivy Tech Bloomington offers ASAP degrees in liberal arts, education, business administration, informatics, and psychology.

The number of students graduating with honors is 295, with 71 graduating summa cum laude for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Ivy Tech Bloomington conferred credentials to 33 military veterans, and is graduating 9 international students representing the countries of China, India, Thailand, and Jamaica.

Approximately 80 Associate of Science in Nursing and 44 Practical Nursing degrees were awarded.

Honorary Degree Recipient Full Biographies

Pam Thompson

As Dean of the Lee J. Marchant School of Nursing, Pam Thompson has grown the college’s capacity to train nurses both on campus and at clinical sites. She led the nursing program through the acquisition and preparation of the Marchant School building that opened to students in the summer of 2014. The School is equipped with state-of-the-art, high-fidelity simulation labs that prepare nurses for work in the field.

Since Pam began leading the program in 2010, the School of Nursing has grown from accepting and training 120 nurses each academic year to 160. Under Pam’s leadership, the program has graduated hundreds of nurses, many of which secure full-time employment before graduation. This is a significant achievement because Ivy Tech graduates choose to live and work in our communities.

With Pam at the helm, the nursing program has maintained its distinguished reputation of graduating students on time and with above average National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) pass rates. In fact, Ivy Tech Bloomington’s LPN program was ranked number one in the state in 2019 by PracticalNursing.org.

Prior to her role as Dean, she served as program chair for the Associate of Science in Nursing program and as faculty for the School of Nursing. Pam has served students for 30 years at Ivy Tech Community College.

She is currently an active member of Kappa Kappa Kappa, a local philanthropic organization. She serves on the board of directors for the local Council of Women and the Ellettsville Counsel for Youth.

Pam earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Morningside College and her master’s in nursing at the University of Southern Indiana.

Bruce Calloway

Bruce Calloway has a passion for education. Both on a personal level and as the south-central Indiana district manager for Duke Energy, he has been able to positively impact students, faculty and schools in the communities he serves for over 15 years. At the forefront of this support is his advocacy for Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus.

Bruce is known for leading by example. As a vocal advocate for Ivy Tech, he has inspired others throughout the community to lend their voice, and often their treasure, to benefit of the college. Under his leadership, Duke Energy has likewise become a mainstay in its support of the Bloomington campus.

This 41-year veteran of the electric utility industry also shares his volunteer time and talents with multiple nonprofit groups, including economic development organizations, community foundations and social service agencies. He is an avid golfer and a fan of all Indiana University sports, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers.

Ivy Tech ties run deep with Bruce and his family: His son Nash graduated from the college in 2013, and his daughter Abby is graduating this spring with her associate degree in radiation therapy. He and his wife Joey have been married for 39 years and enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren, Taytum, Tadleigh and Traycen.

Graduate Profiles

Hannah Walls
Associate of General Studies
Early College Graduate, Bloomfield High School

Hannah is graduating from Bloomfield High School this spring as one of the first students at her school to earn a full associate degree from Ivy Tech Bloomington upon graduation. She says that she worked hard throughout high school to take as many college classes as possible and to graduate at the top of her class. Graduating with a full associate degree with honors has enabled Hannah to apply for scholarships and awards that will help her pay for eight years of college to become a veterinarian.

Growing up, Hannah always had a place in her heart for animals. She spent ten years in 4H Poultry Club where she learned that a career in caring for birds was her calling. She has already started her own business in breeding and selling eggs for hatching. Her focus in vet school is going to be exotic animals which includes all species of birds and poultry.

Hannah has been accepted into Purdue University this fall and will begin her studies in the College of Agriculture in Animal Science, eventually graduating with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Hannah plans to work as a veterinarian in her home community.

Turner Royal, 19
Statewide Transfer General Education Core (STGEC)
Early College Graduate, Bloomfield High School

Turner is graduating from Bloomfield High School with his STGEC technical certification from Ivy Tech Bloomington, enabling him to save time and money on his college education. He looks forward to already having completed 30 credit hours of basic level courses when he enters college in the fall.

He was able to develop time management skills that enabled Turner to do well in both high school and college classes at the same time. He earned numerous basketball accolades including 1,078 career points, which is fourth in history at Bloomfield High School, was a three-time sectional champion, and one-time regional champion. He also participated in tennis and golf, was a Christian Service Club member, served on student council for four years as treasurer, and served 10 years in 4-H where he earned Grand Champion in the Market Lamb category. He also volunteered his time in his community.

Turner has been accepted to Wabash College in the fall where he will major in pre-medicine or economics, and play basketball.

Robert Asmus
Associate of Applied Science, Electrical Engineering Technology

Robert began taking classes at Ivy Tech Community College through his employer’s tuition assistance program. He had wanted to become an electrical engineer since his sophomore year of high school and finally, 34 years later, he is realizing his dream.

One of the toughest challenges Robert overcame was during his final semester when courses went virtual mid-semester due the global pandemic. He worked full-time while completing his education and thanks his wife Margaret for her encouragement in the pursuit of his associate degree.

He says that completing his education at Ivy Tech helped him gain employment in his current job and that he expects his degree to continue to provide promotional opportunities at his current company.

Robert is transferring to IUPUI in the fall to pursue his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Sherilee Rochelle Vitacco, 33
Associate of Science, Psychology 2019
Associate of Science, Human Services 2020

Rochelle chose Ivy Tech Community College because it offered the flexibility she needed to keep working while also going back to school.  Her goal was to train for a better career in order to provide opportunities and set an example for her twin children.

During her studies, she served as a supplemental instructor for human services and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Rochelle also worked full-time at IU Health Bloomington hospital as a switchboard operator while completing her associate degree, and throughout the current pandemic.

She credits her husband for his support of her educational and career goals. Rochelle’s family is moving to Ariz. to pursue her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Arizona. In the future, she plans to attain her Ph.D. in psychology and open a ranch for trauma survivors.

Samuel Ndjambe Edimo, 30
Associate of Science, Engineering Technology
Magna Cum Laude

Samuel chose Ivy Tech Community College because it was accessible, had smaller class sizes, and enabled him to have that one-on-one educational support he was seeking. He is grateful to have had support from getting through the enrollment process all the way to graduation. Samuel says that faculty and staff at Ivy Tech did everything to be sure he was successful.

He currently works at Cook Medical, where he was promoted from Validation Tech to Engineering Project Specialist upon completion of his associate degree. Cook Medical also provided full tuition assistance for his education.

Samuel is continuing on to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering this fall at Indiana State University. He intends to become an engineer.

Briana Trisler, 19
Associate of Science, Elementary Education
ASAP Program

Briana chose to attend Ivy Tech Community College so that she could enter the ASAP program and complete an associate degree in just 11 months. Though the program is rigorous and students are in classes M-F from 9-5, Briana still found time to volunteer at Edgewood Reality Store and served as a Hoosier Girls State Counselor.

She made the Dean’s list and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She says that without the support of her advisors, professors, family and peers in her cohort, she would not have been able to complete her degree in just 11 months. She is grateful for their support.

Briana plans to transfer her associate degree to Indiana University in the fall to complete her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.

Jessica French, 46
Associate of Applied Science, Business Administration
Achieve Your Degree Program

Jessica decided that once her three boys were grown, she would go back to school to further her skills. She chose Ivy Tech Community College to pursue her associate degree in order to better understand her role within her department at Cook Medical and to earn more responsibilities.

She says she had to overcome her fear of technology from being out of school for more than 20 years and that she gained confidence with each course completed. Eventually, Jessica was working full-time and taking a full-time course load. She says that 8-week classes were a huge factor in her success because they enabled her to take just two classes at a time and learn quite well! With 8-week classes, she was able to still complete four classes per semester and make good progress toward graduation.

Jessica benefitted from Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree tuition deferral partnership with Cook (My Cook Pathway) and has received full tuition coverage. She plans to continue on this fall to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Governors University.