Ivy Tech graduates understand the importance of education

Our opinion
May 19, 2013

Friday night, Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington conferred 824 associate degrees, certificates and technical certificates during commencement exercises. Each individual who graduated could tell a story of what the Ivy Tech experience has meant to them.

They included Jonathon Holland, who was featured in an H-T story earlier this week. The 26-year-old earned an associate degree in general studies with Magna Cum Laude honors, an achievement that must have seemed impossible when he was serving time in jail and recovering from addiction. But he’s remade himself with the help of Ivy Tech, earning the college’s humanitarian award for volunteer work with people recovering from addictions or re-entering society after being incarcerated.

His story illustrates the encouragement Ivy Tech gives its students to become involved in their community.

Others were international students, such as Jenny Abaunza-Jaramillo, 32, who received an associate of applied science in business administration with a Magna Cum Laude designation. She’s an international student from Colombia who wanted to expand her educational experiences in this country after receiving a bachelor’s degree in business from a school in her native country.

Some are military veterans, such as Bobbie Olivo, who received a technical certificate in Computer Information Systems and will receive an associate of applied science computer information systems this summer (Magna Cum Laude).

She joined the U.S. Air Force after high school and served during the first Gulf War. After eight years of distinguished service, she left the Air Force and began working. She then decided she wanted to go to college, and felt Ivy Tech was a good place for her. She enrolled when she was 39, and she, too, has been active in campus and community events.

The stories go on. Ronald E. Neibel Jr., 34, a City of Bloomington firefighter/engineer, is a first-generation college student who received his associate of applied science in public safety; Judith Thompson, 54, lost her job in the midst of the recession in 2009 and returned to school to get an associate of science in accounting; Lisa Calkins, 46, was a stay-at-home mother for 12 years, then re- entered the workforce and eventually began taking classes that led to a technical certificate in accounting and a certificate in payroll.

Congratulations to them all and to the hundreds of others who celebrated completing one leg of their educational journey Friday. They likely understand better than most the importance of learning new skills and gaining new knowledge — and the ongoing nature of education.

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2013

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.