BLOOMINGTON – The first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.), will headline Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington’s 11th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service. Powell headlines the Institute’s fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 24 at the Bloomington Monroe County Convention Center, with ticket proceeds benefiting the Ivy Tech-Bloomington Center for Civic Engagement.

“On the heels of Chancellor John R. Whikehart’s retirement, Ivy Tech-Bloomington is continuing its annual tradition of hosting the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service in April, and we’re pleased to announce General Powell as the keynote speaker,” said Interim Chancellor Bradley Thurmond. “Additionally, we’re welcoming the Chancellor Emeritus back to campus as the Institute Conversation speaker for Friday, April 25.”

Appointed secretary of state by President George W. Bush, Powell, became, at that time, the most powerful African-American ever to hold office. A four-star general, Powell’s numerous awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, and he is the author of his best-selling autobiography, My American Journey. His second book, an instant New York Times best seller titled It Worked for Me (May 2012), reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career. Powell provides insight on efforts to stabilize a troubled world and the diplomatic and leadership skills needed to transform unstable regions into areas where societies and cultures flourish.

Chancellor Emeritus John R. Whikehart, established the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service at Ivy Tech-Bloomington in 2004 as an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss issues of local and national importance. Previous speakers of the Institute include U.S Senators, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Governors, political advisers and columnists, a presidential candidate, and former first Lady of the United States Laura W. Bush. The event has grown from a one-day event to a now three-day event that includes a civic engagement awards ceremony, a day of volunteering in the community, a fundraising dinner, panel discussions, and a closing conversation.

To purchase tickets to the fundraising dinner with Powell, and to reserve your seat for Friday’s panel discussions and conversation with Chancellor Emeritus Whikehart, log onto and click on the Tickets/Speakers tab, or contact Tina Phelps at (812) 330-6001, or


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.