GARY | The new Ivy Tech Gary campus president envisions making the campus more community focused and engaging the entire community in emphasizing workforce development and meeting the demands of emerging industries.
A community reception welcoming Marlon Mitchell to the college was held Wednesday at Marquette Park Pavilion in Gary. Mitchell, a Gary Roosevelt graduate who has been an educator for many years and held professorships and administrative posts at several colleges and universities before coming back home to Gary, was named last month to the new role at Ivy Tech Community College.
He is one of 11 campus presidents named and will report to Chancellor Thomas Coley, who oversees the North Central and Northwest region, which includes full-service campuses in Gary, East Chicago, Valparaiso, Michigan City, South Bend, Goshen and Warsaw.
Mitchell said he will focus on developing the Gary campus and working with the mayor on the University Park project. That includes a joint building with Indiana University Northwest. Mitchell said contractors could break ground later this year.
"I intend to expand the relationship with south Lake County," he said.
"My primary goal and interests will be in growing the nursing program, the Steelworkers for America program, early childhood education and the business program. I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to advance the manufacturing sector."
With his grandmother, aunt and pastor sitting in the audience, Mitchell said he will put in systems to engage the community.
"Another major initiative will be working with local high schools and expanding our dual-credit program so that high school students can earn both a high school diploma and associate degree," Mitchell said.
Gary resident Taneya Fuller was excited to hear that Mitchell intends to expand the early childhood education program.
Fuller, who is assistant center director at the Elka Early Childhood Education Center, will earn an associate degree in early childhood education in May 2015.
Fuller, who already holds a bachelor's degree in business and a master's in public administration from IUN, said she went back to get the early childhood education certification because of state requirements and she is in training to become director of the center.
"I really like Ivy Tech's program because it allows me to work full time and take classes either online or at the campus," Fuller said.
As he walked into the reception, Coley said he was pleased to see so many people greeting Mitchell like an old friend.
"Marlon is well-known and well-appreciated," Coley said.