The Herald-Times

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 12:03 am | Updated: 12:24 am, Fri May 16, 2014.

By MJ Slaby 812-331-4371 |

As Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington graduates receive their degrees at commencement today, they will be the last graduates for the Ivy Tech class of 2014 in the state.

They also will be part of the largest class of Ivy Tech graduates, with nearly 20,400 credentials awarded statewide across the state, the first time for Ivy Tech’s 51-year history that a graduating class has topped 20,000.

But for many Bloomington graduates, earning their Ivy Tech degree is just the first step in their education to their dream careers.

“At Ivy Tech, I got the encouragement I needed and developed my self-worth,” said Jess Troxel, who earned an associate of science in human services.

“The opportunities really opened doors for me, and I was able to broaden my horizons.”

Troxel will be the commencement speaker at Ivy Tech Bloomington’s graduation at 6 p.m. today at the Indiana University Auditorium. Honorary degrees will be awarded to Chancellor Emeritus of Ivy Tech Bloomington John Whikehart and University Chancellor Emeritus of IU Kenneth Gros Louis.

Troxel said she first thought about attending Ivy Tech in 2007 after her boss at the time urged her to get a GED and go to college.

“When I started at Ivy Tech, I would have never imagined that they would pick me,” Troxel said of being commencement speaker. “It’s a huge honor.”

She said she wants to honor all her classmates for graduating and talk about overcoming adversity in her speech. Troxel, herself, is a single mother of two boys who lost her home in a Martinsville flood and was in a car accident that led to the loss of her left arm.

She said she wants to earn a master’s degree and go into a career where she can help others. Troxel isn’t sure of the exact career she wants, but isn’t ruling out opportunities — such as international work.

“I’ve got a way to go,” she said.

For fellow soon-to-be graduate Dillon Reeder, his Ivy Tech associate of applied science in criminal justice is also the first step to a dream future career working for the federal government as a U.S. marshal or for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Reeder said he’ll start at the Indiana State Police academy in July, and plans to later earn a bachelor’s degree. He said his time at Ivy Tech learning about topics such as criminal research methods and the court system will give him an advantage when he gets to the state police academy.

Like Reeder, husband and wife U.S. Navy veterans Felixia and Arthur Banks also said they have an advantage because of opportunities at Ivy Tech as they officially begin their nursing careers. Both started working at IU Health Bloomington Hospital during school and have been offered jobs after graduation once they pass the board exam.

“Ivy Tech has a good reputation in the local health care community and is considered top of the line,” said Arthur Banks, who plans to continue his education to become a nurse practitioner.

His wife, who wants to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing, agreed. She said the training technology is top of the line with a manikin that simulates various illnesses and even moves and blinks to teach students to think on their toes.

After the various countdowns of classes and tests, it’s a great feeling to be done, except for the board exam in June, Felixia Banks said.

The words for how graduation feels are difficult to find, said these soon-to-be graduates.

“It’s pretty amazing to graduate,” Troxel said. “I was a high school dropout and didn’t always make the right choices for my life, so it’s pretty cool that I can be an example for my two sons,”

She said the small setting of Ivy Tech was just the place for her to start. “

A community college is a good place to discover who you are and who you want to be,” she said.

Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington commencement

6 p.m. today, IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.

Commencement speaker is graduate Jess Troxel. Honorary degrees will be awarded to Chancellor Emeritus of Ivy Tech Bloomington John Whikehart and University Chancellor Emeritus of Indiana University Kenneth Gros Louis.


Jessica Troxel

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.