The Herald-Times
Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015 12:00 am
By Michael Reschke 812-331-4370 | 

The commencement address for Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will be given by one of the college’s own.

Jeffery “L.J.” Gearhart II was named Student of the Year by the American Council on Education. The Student of the Year Award is presented annually by the council on education to an individual who has benefited academically or professionally from the use of ACE credit recommendations for workforce training.

The thought of continuing his education after high school had never crossed Gearhart’s mind until he met with an Ivy Tech adviser and learned about the partnership between Ivy Tech and McDonald’s Management Development Program, also known as Hamburger University.

Gearhart transferred credits he obtained going through the Management Development Program to Ivy Tech-Bloomington, where he earned his technical certificate in business administration in December 2014. He also received a certificate in human resource management in May, and is on track to earn an associate’s degree in applied science in business administration in August.

Gearhart was able to reach those academic accomplishments while working between 45 and 50 hours per week as the general manager of the McDonald’s restaurant on West Third Street, where he also teaches shift management excellence courses for Bloomington McDonald’s restaurants.

In addition to the award, Gearhart was given a $500 scholarship during a ceremony in March in Washington, D.C.

Commencement is set to begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the Indiana University Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St. More than 1,200 associate’s degrees and certificates will be conferred to graduates, according to a news release from Ivy Tech.

During the ceremony, an honorary degree will be presented to Lee J. Marchant, Ivy Tech Community College state trustee and state foundation director, for his support of Ivy Tech students over the past 25 years.

Marchant, along with his wife, Annie, established two endowed nursing scholarships, both awarding nearly 55 financial awards to nursing students. He was named Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s Benefactor of the Year in 2013. The campus has named its School of Nursing building after him to honor his support of the regional campus.

Thirty students will also be recognized for outstanding academic achievements. They were chosen by Ivy Tech’s academic program chairs.

Those attending the event can park at the Poplar or Atwater garages and take a free shuttle provided by Ivy Tech that will loop back and forth to the IU Auditorium. The ceremony is expected to last about an hour.

Ivy Tech-Bloomington graduation:by the numbers

134: Number of students graduating with honors

10: Number of students graduating Summa Cum Laude for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average

23: Degrees that will be conferred to military veterans

15: Number of international students graduating


Commencement will begin at 6 p.m. Friday in 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.