The Herald-Times
Posted: Saturday, May 17, 2014 12:44 am |

By MJ Slaby 812-331-4371 |

“Are you ready?”

Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder’s question was answered with cheers from the class of 2014.

On Friday evening at the Indiana University Auditorium, the newest class of Ivy Tech Bloomington graduates walked across the stage to receive nearly 1,200 associate degrees and certifications.

Among them were 181 students graduating with honors, 34 military veterans, 17 Ivy Tech employees and seven international students. Also honored were the first two graduates with an associate degree in fine arts and design. Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor Emeritus John Whikehart and Indiana University Chancellor Emeritus Kenneth Gros Louis each received an honorary degree.

Here are the highlights:

From Jennie Vaughan, Ivy Tech Bloomington chancellor

As the ceremony started, Vaughan, at her first commencement as chancellor, offered the graduates a chance to stand and thank their families and friends for their support. As the graduates stood and turned to wave, they were met with waves and cheers from the audience.

Vaughan urged the new graduates to move forward with confidence and motivation. And as she introduced the class, Vaughan acknowledged the impact Ivy Tech had on their lives.

“This is the workforce we developed; these are the lives we have changed,” she said.

From Tom Snyder, Ivy Tech president

“Replace yourself,” Snyder told the graduates, urging them to tell others about their success. “I did it; so can you.”

He said the class should be proud they balanced work, studying, family time and a home life to earn their degrees.

“You changed more than your life; you changed the world around you,” he said.

From Jess Troxel, commencement speaker

Taking the podium, Troxel paused to collect her emotions.

A single mother who struggled with addiction and lost her left arm in a car accident, Troxel said she learned from her challenges, and urged her classmates to learn from their challenges as well.

“We all have misfortunes,” she said. “So how can we use our misfortunes to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others?”

Troxel said what is most important is how a person moves forward.

“We are realizing it’s not how we fall, but how we get back up,” she said. “What Ivy Tech has given me is self-worth, opportunity and new aspirations.”

From the new graduates

For graduates Delton Roberson and Shay Morton, going to Ivy Tech Bloomington was about making a career change.

Roberson said he went to Ivy Tech for a change, and after trying out the medical field, he earned a degree in heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology.

“I’ve worked in construction all my life, so it was familiar,” he said. And walking across the stage made his new achievement a reality.

“It feels great,” he said.

Morton agreed.

“I’m still in awe. … I’m nervous and excited, and I’m also looking forward to what’s ahead,” she said.

Morton quit her job as a paraprofessional in an Indianapolis school to go to Ivy Tech Bloomington, because she wanted to advance her career.  But the idea of attending IU or even Ivy Tech Indianapolis was overwhelming — both campuses were so big, she said. In Bloomington, she could ease back into school at Ivy Tech, because the classes were smaller and the instructors were personable.

“I really needed that,” she said.

And now, with a degree in human services, she said she’s confident she can continue her studies at IU.

“If it wasn’t for Ivy Tech, I would still be at my fork in the road,” Morton said.

commencement2014_1Chris Howell | Herald-Times
Tiffany Hayes, right, director of first impressions, joined other staff members Friday in applauding the graduates as they entered the Indiana University Auditorium during the Ivy Tech commencement ceremonies.


Chris Howell | Herald-Times
Graduate Jess Troxel gives the commencement address Friday, during the Ivy Tech commencement ceremonies at the Indiana University Auditorium.


Chris Howell | Herald-Times
Graduates line up for quick group shots Friday before the Ivy Tech Bloomington commencement ceremonies at the Indiana University Auditorium.



First year chancellor, Jennifer A. Vaughn, right, offers encouragement to graduate and commencement speaker, Jess Troxel, during the Ivy Tech commencement ceremonies at the Indiana University Auditorium.


Friends and family members celebrate their graduates accomplishments Friday during the Ivy Tech commencement ceremonies at the Indiana University Auditorium.




Graduates face the audience to look for their family and friends in attendance Friday during the Ivy Tech commencement ceremonies at the Indiana University Auditorium.

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.