By day, he’s Tyler Andrews, a 2024 Ivy Tech Fort Wayne welding graduate, part-time employee at Discount Tire, and Student Life Associate.

But some days, you’ll probably see him walking around wielding a sword. Not to worry—that’s just part of his other job.

“The first semester here I was walking to my class in the Tech Center, and I saw the casting call flyer for Tony the Titan, and I was like ‘why not? We'll go for it.’”

That’s right. For nearly two years, Tyler has expertly portrayed our favorite Titan, but now he’s sheathing the sword and bidding Tony adieu.

“I feel prepared,” Tyler says about graduating. “I’m going to miss this place because there’s been so much I’ve done that I never thought I was going to do when I enrolled here.”

Playing with fire

Tyler’s Ivy Tech journey began with a go kart.

He wasn’t riding it—he and his friend just wanted to put a bigger engine on it. To do this, they needed to be able to weld, a skill neither of them had. So, Tyler took welding classes in high school, found a career path, and started at Ivy Tech.

“I took one tour, and Ivy Tech was the only college tour I went on. I didn’t need to go to a university.”

Surrounded by encouraging (if intimidating) instructors, Tyler says he’s learned so much and enjoyed doing it. He’s gotten real-world welding experience in classes like Fabrications, where he’s seen projects come to life.

“Classes have been a lot of fun. The instructors are great, very knowledgeable, and whenever you have an issue, you can always ask them questions.”

Asking questions and absorbing as much information as possible are two ways Tyler has thrived. There’s a lot that goes into “playing with fire”, and it’s important to understand the safest way to do things.

“I talked to a guy one time in a welding shop who offered this philosophy, ‘everything is either hot, sharp, or heavy. So, don’t go touching random things without a glove or safety equipment.’”

Now that graduation is over, Tyler is debating his options. He is considering continuing his education at Purdue University Fort Wayne to get a bachelor’s degree in business, or he’ll look for a full-time welding job. If the latter, he luckily has connections thanks to his friends and instructor Brian Barnes.

“You have to do research. Make connections. Go check out and see if you want to try and pursue that option. So, it always helps to just reach out and ask like, hey, can I come tour this place? I'm thinking about maybe applying here, but I'm not sure yet.”

The James Bond of Ivy Tech

Speaking of jobs, Tyler has held perhaps one of the coolest in the College.

He’s brought the personality behind Tony the Titan, starring in several TikToks, high-fiving kids, and dancing at the 2023 Commencement. Tyler admits to being shy, but he told himself he wouldn’t hold back with this job.

“Don't be afraid to just go for it because that's the best thing you can do when you're a mascot. If you start all in, then it only goes up from there and you could start to do even more crazy things.”

Student Life Interim Director Cari Knuth is credited as discovering Tyler. She supported him every time he donned the suit, and even gave him the opportunity to work in the Student Life Office, helping set up and plan events.

“There's a lot of stuff we do with the events and things. Obviously, that's really fun and it's definitely helped me personally grow out of my shell.”

Tyler thinks some people would be surprised that he’s been the mascot, but really, it’s a dream he’s had since he was young.

“Growing up, mascots like the Mad Ant and Johnny TinCap would come visit our school, and I was like, oh, that's really cool. Mascots are fun. There was always a feeling somewhere within me that that'd be kind of fun to do someday. But I didn't think it would ever happen.”

As Tony, he’s received an invite to Johnny TinCap’s birthday bash, starred in the 2023 Chancellor Holiday Card, visited businesses around town, and, not just plan, but participated in fun events.

“Touch a Truck last year was cool because it was really kid centric. A lot of kids wanted pictures, which was fun. It gets Ivy Tech exposure to the community.”

Through his journey as Titan, he’s gotten to work closely with Ivy Tech Fort Wayne’s Social Media Strategist Maggie Becraft and Marketing Content Coordinator Joe Wood. He loves the creativity and fun ideas they bring.

See Tyler as Tony in our TikToks!

Advice from a college graduate

Despite having great experiences with Ivy Tech, Tyler is excited to have a more regulated schedule.

“Just making sure I get all my homework done, get everything accomplished at Ivy Tech, make sure everything's going well at Discount, keeping the schedule balanced. I have two jobs and classes and other stuff outside of that, so that was probably the biggest challenge for me.”

This summer, Tyler looks forward to his favorite hobby—spending time with his loved ones. He’ll be cheering on his girlfriend as she begins her master’s at Ball State, tend to his 6 GloFish and 5 snails, and begin taking more walks.

“Advice I would give any student at Ivy Tech is don’t be afraid to try new things. If I didn’t try new things, I wouldn’t be Tony or work in Student Life or be able to participate in major events like conferences. You won’t regret it.”

As for the future of Tony the Titan—don’t worry. We’ve unmasked Tyler, but Tony the Titan lives on. Stay tuned around campus and social media to see what he’s up to next.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. If I didn’t try new things, I wouldn’t be Tony or work in Student Life or be able to participate in major events like conferences. You won’t regret it.

– Tyler Andrews | 2024 Welding Graduate

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.