News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 8, 2014

Nancy & Pat Ralston receive honorary Ivy Tech degrees

TERRE HAUTE — During Thursday’s Ivy Tech commencement program, Patrick and Nancy Ralston of Terre Haute received honorary degrees in recognition of their commitment to education and to Ivy Tech.

They each received an associate of science in College and Community Service.

Prior to commencement, both said they were honored and humbled to receive the honorary degree. “Ivy Tech has been a big part of our lives and will continue to be,” Pat Ralston said. “I’ve seen what it does. The theme is changing lives, and I’ve seen it first-hand.”

Nancy Ralston recalled when other four-year public colleges would not accept Ivy Tech credits. “It’s come a long way over the years,” she said.

The Ralstons set up an Ivy Tech scholarship in honor of Nancy’s parents. Her father was an educator.

Nancy Ralston is an educator with a 36-year career in teaching, and she also served on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education between 1993 and 2005.

She served as chairwoman for the commission in 2005 and led support to transform Ivy Tech as the statewide community college system. For her work with the Commission for Higher Education, she received the Sagamore of the Wabash from governors Evan Bayh and Joe Kernan.

Pat Ralston has had a long and distinguished career in public service. As a state government employee, he worked for three Indiana governors as the head of the Department of Natural Resources.

He also served as chairperson of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, the Great Lakes Commission and the Indiana State Museum board of trustees. He also was the first executive director of the Indiana Resources Foundation and the Indiana Heritage Trust.

In 1999, he was appointed by Congress to serve for five years on the Gilmore Commission, an advisory panel formed to assess domestic response capabilities for terrorism.

In 2003, he was appointed to serve on the Oklahoma City Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. He received Sagamore of the Wabash awards from governors Bayh, Frank O’Bannon and Kernan for his service to the state and country.

He has worked as vice president of business, economic development and government relations at First Financial Bank since 2004. In that capacity, he serves on eight boards, including 10 years on the Ivy Tech Foundation board of directors, serving as treasurer of that board since 2009.

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