Michael Smerconish to headline Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute in April

BLOOMINGTON – Michael Smerconish, one of America’s best talk show hosts, author and columnist, will headline Ivy Tech Bloomington’s 15th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Proceeds will benefit Ivy Tech’s Center for Civic Engagement.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming important broadcast program host, Michael Smerconish, to Ivy Tech Bloomington’s signature event,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “He was the first radio program host to interview President Barack Obama live from the White House, as well as having interviewed other Presidents and Vice Presidents ranging from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, and from Al Gore to Joe Biden.”

Smerconish is the host of of The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Channel 124, the host of CNN’s Smerconish on Saturday mornings, newspaper columnist and author. He is often recognized for his radio program work. In 2011, the National Association of Broadcasters selected him as a “Marconi Award” finalist in the category of Best Network/Syndicated Host. He has often been the recipient of several (Philadelphia) Achievement in Radio awards, including “Best Talk Show Host” and “Best Evening Program.” Philadelphia Magazine has named him the city’s best talk show host, as well as one of the city’s most powerful citizens.

On August 20, 2009, Smerconish became the first radio host to interview President Barack Obama live from the White House. The 35-minute interview was conducted in the Diplomatic Reception Room and televised live on MSNBC, CNN and FOX News. Smerconish has interviewed President Obama on seven different occasions. He has also interviewed Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as Vice Presidents Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden. Smerconish hosts a weekly Saturday TV program on CNN fittingly called Smerconish and in the past has been an MSNBC contributor and frequent guest-host of Hardball for Chris Matthews. He has been a guest on virtually every television program where politics is discussed, including: the NBC Today show, Colbert Report, O’Reilly Factor, Larry King Live, The View, and Real Time With Bill Maher.

Smerconish is the author of six books, two of them New York Times’ best sellers. He donated all author proceeds from three of those manuscripts to charity.

The O’Bannon Institute for Community Service (www.ivytech.edu/obannon/) at Ivy Tech Bloomington was established in 2004 as an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss issues of importance. Previous speakers at the Institute include U.S. senators, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, governors, political advisers and columnists, a presidential candidate, and former first lady of the United States Laura W. Bush.

The fundraising dinner featuring Smerconish will take place on Ivy Tech’s main campus at 200 Daniels Way on the west side of Bloomington, in Shreve Hall, located in the Cook Pavilion. Individual tickets cost $100 and Platinum, Gold, and Silver sponsorships are available.

To purchase tickets or a sponsorship, visit www.ivytech.edu/obannon and click on tickets. For more information, contact Tina Phelps at (812) 330-6001 or tphelps@ivytech.edu.



Ivy Tech English department to host reading series, foster sense of community

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College will host its fourth annual reading series, “Writing Across Communities,” to include student and professor writers from local colleges in addition to community members. The event is open to the public and will be held Thursday, November 16 at 7 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Waldron Rose Firebay, located at 122 S. Walnut St.

“This series attempts to foster a sense of community that crosses boundary lines between master and apprentice, the two- and four-year college, and the academy and the city,” said Samantha Levy-Arnold, Ph.D., associate professor of English. “Each reading features one community writer, one Ivy Tech writer, one adjunct writer, and one student writer.”

Readers include:

Tony Brewer, community writer and chair of the Writer’s Guild at Bloomington

Samantha Levy-Arnold, Ph.D., Ivy Tech associate professor of English

David Kim, Ivy Tech English adjunct faculty member

Alexa Hubbell, Ivy Tech student


Ivy Tech to host Express Enrollment Day next Wednesday

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College spring classes begin January 16 and Express Enrollment Day will be held on Wednesday, November 8 from 11a.m. to 6p.m. Express Enrollment Day will be held at Ivy Tech locations in Bedford, Bloomington, French Lick, and Martinsville.

During Express Enrollment, students can apply, enroll, and get questions answered all in one stop. Financial aid information will be available. Admissions staff will guide students and answer general questions about the enrollment process. Accuplacer assessments will be available and students who will need to take the assessment must arrive before 4p.m. To learn more visit http://www.ivytech.edu/assessment/.

Ivy Tech’s Bedford location is at the StoneGate Arts and Education Center, 405 I Street. The French Lick location is at the Orange County Learning Center at Springs Valley, 479 Larry Bird Boulevard. In Martinsville, Ivy Tech staff will be available to assist at The Main Connection, 460 Main St.

For more information, students can visit Ivy Tech Bloomington at 200 Daniels Way, call (812) 330-6013 or email bl-info@ivytech.edu. Regular hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ivy Tech book launch to benefit youth in Centerstone program

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech is hosting a book launch and reading of Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 to benefit teens in Centerstone’s Stepping Stones program who are experiencing homelessness. Each book sold provides one bus pass for one teen in the program, to help with transportation to school or work. The event will be held Thursday, November 9, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Waldron, located at 122 S. Walnut St.

Bobo Books is a project of Ivy Tech English professor, Emily Bobo, Ph.D. Volume 1 was published in July 2016. Both volumes involved collaboration between Ivy Tech students and the community to benefit a local organization.

For Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2, student poets in Ivy Tech’s ENGL 214 class taught people in their communities to write poems in response to art. Students then selected poems to feature in the volume, and the poems were edited by Dr. Bobo. In addition, some students in the IU INSPIRE living-learning center contributed poems to the volume. The volume features photography by Charity Heggestad at The Joy of Film.

A previous Bobo Books project, Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 1, benefitted the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Reduced Lunch Program. To-date, volume 1 has raised enough to provide 1,500 free lunches for children in the program.

Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 can be purchased at the event or at Amazon.com for $14 each.

Bobo Books 1.1.1 Volume 2 is a collaborative project between Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Stepping Stones, a program of Centerstone, The Joy of Film, and Hemlock House Press.

Book launch reservations are requested. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP online at https://donorlynk.com/centerstone/bobo-books/.

About Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones is a non-profit organization located in Monroe County that serves youth ages 16 to 20 years old who are experiencing homelessness. Stepping Stones provides transitional housing in a safe environment and supportive services that aid in the care of present needs, but also in preparation for the future. The program is designed to provide youth with the skills necessary to become self-sustaining, successful adults.


Entrepreneurship student accepted to B-Start program


BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech student Jack Dreesen was accepted into the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) B-Start program, which aims to coach early-stage startup businesses in Bloomington. B-Start accepted 11 Bloomington startups and the 22-week program began on Wednesday, October 18. The program matches each participant with a mentor and provides guidance in developing their business, culminating in a final business pitch competition for cash prizes in March 2018.

Dreesen’s business idea is “Elephants on Mars,” a venue for people to experience immersive virtual reality (VR) and also allow developers a space to create new technology. He explained that the name is designed to evoke curiosity.

“VR technology is projected to grow 10 times in the next five years in the industry as a whole,” said Dreesen. “If that’s where the growth potential is, why can’t it happen in a place like Bloomington? I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel with this new thing, but I just need to figure out a way to bring it to Bloomington.”

Dreesen said he first experienced VR at an event at the Monroe County Public Library.

“The first time I went, I tried a carnival game and time just slowed down,” he said. “VR is like being in a dream and watching somebody in that dream. I was also surprised at the level of interest among all ages. People have limited time slots so they can only be in for 10 minutes, but they come out wide-eyed and want to do more.”

The experience made Dreesen want to share it with everyone and he began thinking of ways to turn his idea into a business.

Spring Semester 2017, Dreesen presented his idea in Ivy Tech’s Duke It Out business pitch competition, sponsored by Duke Energy.

“I wouldn’t have known about B-Start if it wasn’t for Duke It Out,” he said. “The Duke It Out competition was how I got into entrepreneurship. It’s a contest but they help you grow. That’s how I met people from the SBDC and Ivy Tech’s Cook Center for Entrepreneurship who told me, ‘If you really want to do this, you should sign up for the entrepreneurship program.’”

Dreesen is now pursuing his technical certificate in entrepreneurship and is looking forward to the B-Start program to supplement his studies.

“The biggest thing I’m looking for with B-Start is how to get seed capital, and also learning about commercial real estate,” said Dreesen. “One of my classes next semester will be about commercial real estate. I’m also trying to find partnerships and looking for help with my business plan.”

Dreesen did not always know what he wanted to study, but Ivy Tech gave him enough opportunities to find out.

“After high school I went to Ball State because I wanted to be a filmmaker and studied telecommunications,” he said, “I moved back to Bloomington, then bartended in Austin, Texas for five years, then moved back to Bloomington again due to a family illness. During that time, I began to figure out who I was and Ivy Tech was part of that exploration.”

Dreesen soon became an editor of Ivy Tech’s student literary magazine, took informatics classes, and was actively involved in student life.

“Ivy Tech has all these amazing opportunities and the only thing you have to do is try,” he said. “I really make an effort to get involved and think of myself as worthy of whatever good thing can come. I’ve embraced being a student again.”

Dreesen’s B-Start pitch video can be viewed online at https://youtu.be/JZZ8MfIKV5c.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s entrepreneurship program continues to grow in enrollment, with 56 students currently enrolled, a 10 percent increase from last year. Statewide, 218 students are enrolled, a 5 percent increase from last year.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s campus hosts the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides practical tools to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. More information can be found online at ivytech.edu/entrepreneurship.

Ivy Tech to host Human Library Project, challenge stereotypes

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting the second annual Human Library Project on Tuesday, November 7 and the public is invited to participate. Ivy Tech’s Human Library Project will feature individuals acting as “books” that readers/ attendees can “check out” to learn more about them as individuals, to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Ivy Tech Community College, Shreve Hall, located at 200 Daniels Way on the west side of Bloomington.

The 17 individuals participating as books have written their own book titles, which will be on display for readers to select. Examples of self-titled books that will be available include, “Mormon,” “Law Enforcement,” “Drag Queen,” “Atheist,” “Transgender Woman,” and others.

The Human Library Project was initiated by Ivy Tech Bloomington’s diversity committee. The committee was awarded the 2016 Nancy Howard Diversity Award by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce for creating a diverse campus experience through events like the Human Library Project.

Brad Thurmond, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, says the event was organized primarily to benefit Ivy Tech students. “The Human Library Project is a great opportunity for students to spend time with a person who has a unique experience to share with our community,” said Dr. Thurmond. “It provides a chance for connection as well as a bridge to build empathy and understanding with one another.”

The Human Library Project is a worldwide movement, intended to challenge stereotypes and promote understanding through civil and open dialogue. Background information about the Human Library Project can be found online at http://humanlibrary.org/.

Questions about Ivy Tech’s Human Library Project be directed to Dr. Thurmond at (812) 330-6816 or bthurmond@ivytech.edu.


Ivy Tech’s 2017 Community Arts Awards winners announced

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will host the 2017 Community Arts Awards on Friday, November 10 to honor local arts advocates, educators, and businesses. The event will be held 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, located at 122 S. Walnut St., and tickets can be purchased at the BCT box office.

Categories and recipients of Community Arts Awards are as follows: Arts Advocate, Audrey Heller; Arts in Business, The Vault at Gallery Mortgage; Arts in Education, Diane Davis-Deckard; Regional Arts Service, Kathy Thompson; and Special Citation/Lifetime Achievement, Peter Jacobi.

Winners were juried by an independent community group, including artists, administrators, and long-time residents and supporters of the arts.

Audrey Heller (Winner: Arts Advocate)
Heller is clinical assistant professor emerita at Indiana University in the department of speech and hearing sciences. She has been involved with Puck Players Puppet Theatre, Diversity Theatre, The Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, and the MOSAIC Film Festival (an extension of Diversity Theatre).

The Vault at Gallery Mortgage (Winner: Arts in Business)
Gallery Mortgage supplies a gallery space for professional artists to show their work. The proceeds from the gallery go to the artist or local charitable organizations.

Diane Davis-Deckard (Winner: Arts in Education)
Davis-Deckard has worked as an art teacher at Bloomington High School North for 25 years. She has taught at many other schools in Bloomington, Martinsville, and Owen County.

Kathy Thompson (Winner: Regional Arts Service)
Thompson is founder and artistic director at Kat’s Performing Arts Studio in Bedford, Indiana.

Peter Jacobi (Winner: Special Citation/Lifetime Achievement)
Jacobi is professor emeritus at the Indiana University School of Journalism, former member and chair of the Indiana Arts Commission, and columnist and music critic for The Herald-Times.

The 2017 Community Arts Awards ceremony will also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Ivy Tech’s Center for Lifelong Learning. Entertainment will include a performance by jazz musician Monika Herzig and engaging demonstrations from Center for Lifelong Learning instructors. Instructors will perform magic, demonstrate guitar swirl-painting, and host a Q&A about backyard chickens with live chickens. A beer and wine bar and culinary treats will be available.

Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online at www.bctboxoffice.com.