News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 10, 2013

Ivy Tech celebrates graduation

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Hundreds of Ivy Tech students crossed the stage at Hulman Center Thursday night to become Ivy Tech graduates – and in many cases the first college graduates in their families.

About half of those attending the commencement ceremony at Hulman Center were recognized as the first in their families to receive a college education. And nearly all of the graduates indicated they are currently married with families at home.

“You turned obstacles into challenges. You set a goal and you accomplished it,” said Jeffrey Terp, senior vice president for engagement and institutional efficiency, speaking to the Class of 2013. “You are now a part of the Ivy Tech story.”

The Ivy Tech “story” started 50 years ago with a state appropriation of just $50,000. The first Wabash Valley region class included just six vocational students in a church, he said.

Ivy Tech statewide now has more than 170,000 students, making it the largest institution of higher education in the state and one of the largest community colleges in the nation, Terp said.

“We are celebrating 50 years of changing lives in Indiana,” Terp said.

Ivy Tech graduated students with degrees in dozens of different fields Thursday, including early childhood education, visual communication, health care support, paramedic science and nursing.

The keynote speaker for the commencement was Paul Brenner, an Ivy Tech graduate and current president of Broadcaster Traffic Consortium and also chief technology officer for Emmis Communications.

Brenner, who went on to receive a four-year degree and a master’s degree, told the graduates he didn’t realize his potential until entering Ivy Tech after a less-than-successful high school experience. He discovered mathematics was his passion, he said.

Brenner urged the graduates to set goals, network and “be proactive; think ahead.”

Ivy Tech’s Wabash Valley region conferred distinguished student awards on several graduates Thursday. Curtis Ellis received the Larry Lowey Award. Linda Moody received the Leon Blum Award. Corey Laue received the C. Huston Isaacs Award, and Drew Canavan received the Keri Sharpe Award. Three students, Derrick Shipley, Drew Canavan and Lori Batchelor, received the Special Phi Theta Kappa Award, and John Lawson received the Information Systems and Technology Award.

The community college also conferred honorary degrees of Associate of Science for College and Community Service to retired long-time Ivy Tech official F. Richard “Nick” Nicoson, retired state representative Vern Tincher and to Fred and Nancy Rubey, who, among other things, helped create a strong relationship between Ivy Tech and the Oakley Foundation that has resulted in a number of scholarships for Ivy Tech students and a state-of-the-art auditorium at the college.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or