Celebrating 50 Years of “Changing Lives” at Ivy Tech

2013-02-17T00:00:00Z Celebrating 50 Years of “Changing Lives” at Ivy Tech nwitimes.com
February 17, 2013 12:00 am

When Indiana Vocational Technical College opened its doors in 1963 its future was uncertain. Fifty years later, Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly-accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

Forty-one percent of the state’s freshman class is enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College. More freshmen are enrolled at Ivy Tech (18,564) than at Indiana University Bloomington (4,695), Purdue University West Lafayette (3,434), Ball State University (3,159), Indiana State University (3,175) and IUPUI (3,106) combined.

With campuses throughout the state, Ivy Tech serves as Indiana’s engine of workforce development - offering affordable degree programs and training that is aligned with the needs of the state’s unique individual communities, as well as courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana.

Late last month, Ivy Tech Community College kicked off a year-long celebration commemorating its 50th anniversary.

Harvard professor, author and literary critic, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was an honored guest and speaker during the festivities, which were held at the Kokomo Event & Conference Center. An expert in exploring the past who often shares his findings on PBS, Dr. Gates examines race, culture and identity through genealogy and history to unveil who we are and where we come from.

On March 15th, Ivy Tech Community College will officially mark its 50-year anniversary, with each of the 14 regional campuses hosting celebrations throughout the year to commemorate the college’s 50-year history. A statewide gala is also being planned for September 6 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating this tremendous milestone all year long here in the Northwest region,” IvyTech Vice Chancellor and Dean of the De La Garza campus in East Chicago Louis Gonzalez, who has been with the college for 25 years, said. “We’ll officially be kicking things off on March 22nd following spring break and our plans are very inclusive. We’re looking forward to involving the faculty and staff, students and all of our community partners. There will be both formal and informal events. It’s quite an achievement. We’ve come a long way – touched a lot of lives – and really evolved in these 50 years.”

“We’re in the process of putting together special birthday cards that will include a pin with the slogan, ‘Remember the Mission,’ and be delivered to faculty and staff on all four Northwest region campuses,” Ivy Tech Media Specialist John Niemann, who has been with the college for 37 years, said. “For the past 15 years or so it’s been my job to attend all the events and take photographs, so we’ve been having some fun this year posting old photographs and asking people to guess the people, event and/or location. Some of the students have also been gathering old photos for various projects commemorating the 50th Anniversary this year.”

Along with the special cards, pins and treats for staff planned for March 22th, each Northwest region campus is also looking forward to a tree planting ceremony as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, according to Ivy Tech Administrative Assistant to the Chancellor, Jonetta Anthony.

Providing educational instruction of the highest quality, Ivy Tech Community College is the front door to higher education. Students can earn an associate degree for less than half the cost of the first two years at most universities and then continue to work toward a bachelor’s degree at the university of their choice.

In order to offer students an education with credits that transfer, institutions must be accredited. Ivy Tech is accredited by the North Central Association, which oversees accreditation of colleges and universities in 19 states.

The process of attaining and maintaining accreditation is rigorous. Thanks to the high quality of instruction at Ivy Tech, along with the fact that its programs are accredited, Indiana’s research universities all accept Ivy Tech credits and continue to partner with the college to create more pathways for Ivy Tech graduates who want to pursue bachelor’s degrees and further their education.

It all starts with an exemplary group of faculty and staff dedicated to the success of each student who enrolls at Ivy Tech Community College. Many faculty members hold doctorates in their respective fields, while additional full-time faculty teaching freshman- and sophomore-level classes are required to hold no less than a master’s degree in their field. Adjunct professors possess full academic credentials and also work in their fields. This provides students an opportunity to learn from professionals currently in the workforce.

As a result, Ivy Tech Community College graduates have gone on to become knowledgeable and dedicated leaders in their fields. The rigor at Ivy Tech is no less than what university students’ experience. They handle the same responsibilities - they write research papers, attend lectures, run experiments, give speeches and do homework. They also create friendships, have fun, learn from one another, participate in clubs, play intramural sports and develop a love for their school.

Also of great importance to students, Ivy Tech is the most affordable college in Indiana, and research has shown that Ivy Tech graduates, who transfer as juniors to other state universities, are more successful than those who started at the university as freshmen – proving a more affordable education doesn’t equate to offering a lower quality education.

Investigate the following degree programs available on Ivy Tech Northwest campuses in East Chicago, Gary, Michigan City and/or Valparaiso:


Advanced Manufacturing

Associate of Science in Nursing

Automotive Technology

Building Construction Management

Business Administration

Computer Information Systems

Computer Information Technology

Computer Science

Construction Technology

Criminal Justice

Design Technology

Early Childhood Education


Electronics & Computer Technology

Energy Technology

General Studies

Health Care Support

Hospitality Administration

(including - Baking and Pastry Art and Culinary Arts)

Human Services


Industrial Technology

(including - Maintenance Technician Electrical, Maintenance Technician Mechanical

and Maintenance Technician Multi-Craft)

Information Security

Liberal Arts

Library Technical Assistant

Manufacturing Production and Operations

Medical Assisting

Mortuary Science

Nursing (Associate of Science in Nursing)

Office Administration

Paralegal Studies

Paramedic Science

Physical Therapist Assistant

Practical Nursing


Public Safety Technology

Respiratory Care

Surgical Technology


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