Special to the Herald Times

Jeffery “L.J.” Gearhart II, a McDonald’s restaurant general manager and student at Ivy Tech Community College, is the American Council on Education’s 2014 Student of the Year.

ACE is a national association that represents college presidents.

Gearhart, 24, of Bloomington, was presented with the award at ACE’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., March 16.

The Student of the Year Award is presented annually by ACE to an individual who has benefited academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce or military training.

Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievements in their community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career and education.

“I am honored to work for a company that offers ACE credit recommendations to assist me and other learners in obtaining the college degrees and certifications that will help us advance our personal and professional ambitions,” Gearhart said. “My goal is to inspire others the way I have been inspired by my mentors.”

ACE’s college credit recommendation service and military evaluations are forms of credit for prior learning.

The programs evaluate employers’ workplace education and training programs, or military courses and occupations, and recommend academic credit when that learning is college level.

“Like so many nontraditional students, Jeffery successfully balances the demands of family and professional responsibilities even as he works to gain his degree,” said Deborah Seymour, ACE’s assistant vice president for education attainment and innovation.

Gearhart got a $500 scholarship to help continue his education.

Gearhart currently is a general manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Bloomington, where he also teaches shift management excellence courses at his and four other McDonald’s restaurants in the area.

He has successfully applied credits from classes at McDonald’s Hamburger University to pursue an associate of applied science in business administration degree and a human resources management certificate from Ivy Tech. Prior to receiving this award, he already had received a technical certificate in business administration from Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech recently partnered with McDonald’s to develop a degree crosswalk with the company’s management development program. The partnership allows McDonald’s restaurant and mid-management employees in the management development program to transfer up to 21 credit hours of courses taken at Hamburger University toward an associate degree.


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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.