News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

April 28, 2014

Ivy Tech names new chancellor

Ex-mayor to cover merged Southwest, Valley region

TERRE HAUTE — Jonathan Weinzapfel, former state legislator and mayor of Evansville, has been named chancellor of Ivy Tech’s newly combined Southwest (Evansville) and Wabash Valley (Terre Haute) regions.

The announcement came Monday morning at the Ivy Tech Wabash Valley campus. Weinzapfel, who lives in Evansville, is currently an attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels. He begins his new duties May 12.

“This is a great step forward for the college,” said Jeff Terp, Ivy Tech Community College executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Terp cited Weinzapfel’s tenure as mayor of a large city, in which Weinzapfel dealt with many organizations and constituencies and focused on economic development, education and community engagement. That experience “directly relates to what we are looking for in a regional chancellor,” Terp said.

Weinzapfel described his new duties as “a great opportunity to lead. It’s an opportunity for me to get back into public service. Ivy Tech is truly on the cutting edge of economic development in this state.”

The college announced its intent to combine the Southwest (Evansville) and Wabash Valley (Terre Haute) regions earlier this month.

In March, Wabash Valley chancellor Ann Valentine announced she was stepping down May 15  to pursue other opportunities in higher education. Valentine has been chancellor since July 1, 2011. Daniel L. Schenk, who retired earlier this year, previously served as chancellor of the Southwest region.

Ivy Tech expects to name presidents for both the Terre Haute and Evansville campuses within 30 days. The presidents will report to Weinzapfel.

Ivy Tech has been consolidating several of its regions throughout the state, Terp said. The goal is to cut costs and redirect savings to focus on student success by hiring more advisers and full-time faculty.

Weinzapfel has focused his legal practice on economic development issues and municipal consulting. Previously, Weinzapfel served two terms as mayor of Evansville and five years as a state representative. In 1996, he ran for U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th Congressional District. A Democrat, he was narrowly defeated by Republican incumbent John Hostettler.

As Evansville mayor, he focused much of his efforts on education and economic development.

During Monday’s announcement, he told Wabash Valley faculty, staff and students that as a mayor, he worked closely with Ivy Tech. “I realize first-hand the importance Ivy Tech has to the community and what a difference it makes in the lives of its people, and especially, its students.”

He said he has much to learn and looks forward to working with everyone at the Wabash Valley campus and the Terre Haute community. He said he hopes “to make sure we can build on all the tremendous success we’ve had in Terre Haute and maybe even take Ivy Tech to a higher level.”

In an interview, he said that as a regional chancellor, he will manage the combined region, serve as chief marketing officer and work on larger economic development opportunities. He will be looking to see “where there are some opportunities to provide some efficiencies and put any savings that result back into campuses at Evansville and Terre Haute.”

But first, “I have a little bit of an educational process to go through before we start making decisions,” he said. He plans to spend a lot of time getting to know the Terre Haute community better.

“I expect to spend quite a bit of time up here in Terre Haute on a weekly basis,” he said.

Terp anticipates Weinzapfel eventually will spend about half his time in Terre Haute and the other half in Evansville.

The new campus presidents, once hired, will focus on outreach to the local community, including external relationships with K-12 schools, businesses and other community groups, Terp has said.

Terp and Weinzapfel said that those partnerships already in place at Wabash Valley Ivy Tech will continue, such as the joint venture with the Terre Haute Humane Society. “The Humane Society is a good example of a great partnership — I think we’ll see that expanded and enhanced,” Terp said.

Also attending the announcement was Lori Danielson, vice chairwoman of the Wabash Valley regional board, who will become chairwoman in June. She was involved with the search process.

Weinzapfel’s resume “shows tremendous results,” she said. “But when you speak to him and you see the passion and the desire for action and to make things happen, I think you’ll get very excited about working with him on that level.”

Looking ahead to the future and potential changes, Danielson challenged faculty and staff to bring their expertise to the table and “participate in a positive way to make those changes happen. All of you can contribute to that and to great things ahead for the students.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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