Virtually all of the 1,002 men and women who are scheduled to receive degrees and certificates from Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus Friday have been through many changes and ushered in a new era at the campus on the west side of the community.

They were a part of a change in facilities. Those who have studied there for two years began their course work in one academic building or in satellite buildings away from the core campus. They completed their work in an expanded and renovated building that offers more and better opportunities to learn in one location. The expanded facility opened in January.

They were part of a change in leadership. They are the first two-year students to be enrolled under the administration of Chancellor Jennie Vaughan, who assumed her job in May of 2014 after the retirement of former Chancellor John Whikehart.

They were part of a change in curriculum. Some are receiving degrees in recently established programs, such as the Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP), as well as other new areas of study.

But change, new challenges and new opportunities come with the territory for a lot of Ivy Tech students.

Some of the students at the college have returned to school after raising a family; others have been able to start classes after their own children have grown enough to start school themselves.

Some have gone back to the classroom to be retrained in a new skill or for a new career more relevant to the 21st century economy.

Some have transitioned back into school from time in the military.

Some have gone to Ivy Tech to study with the understanding they will transfer to a different school to complete a four-year degree.

They have found areas of study in an ever-changing world, choosing everything from biotechnology to computer information technology to cyber security/information service to design technology to network infrastructure to software development. Those are just a sampling of the degrees and departments that stand at Ivy Tech circa 2016 besides the more traditional paths that have been offered such as nursing and accounting and general studies and liberal arts; or the relatively new areas such as radiation technology and hospitality management.

Many of the newer courses of study represent one of the strengths of Ivy Tech, which is the ability to pivot quickly to prepare students for emerging career opportunities.

The students realizing the completion of one goal Friday will now be able to move directly into a job or be prepared to continue their education at another institution of higher education.

Congratulations to all the students, from whatever circumstances, who will be receiving degrees or certificates from Ivy Tech Friday.

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.