Home > Distinguished Alumni Awards

To celebrate the success of our alumni, Ivy Tech Community College awards a group of accomplished graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award each year. This award honors alumni for their commitment to the College and to their communities. The awardees are leaders in their professions who make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, or College.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes our alumni who have made a lasting impact through professional, volunteer, or philanthropic action. Each December, awardees are celebrated by Ivy Tech board members, community supporters, and other alumni at the Distinguished Alumni Celebration in Indianapolis.

The alumni honored at this event represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online.

JORDAN WOLFE

2017 GRADUATE

Associate of General Studies

ANDERSON

Jordan Wolfe was only 14 years old when he enrolled in Ivy Tech Community College. Although he was a freshman in high school, Jordan was able to register at the Anderson and Muncie campuses due to his homeschooling. Determined to knock out as many college credits as he could, Jordan completed an associate degree in general studies before graduating high school. Currently studying meteorology at Ball State University, Jordan hopes to go on to work for a local news station or the National Weather Service.


JESSICA STRUNK

2005 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Office Administration

BLOOMINGTON

Jessica Strunk knows the value of education. Currently serving as the Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Jessica began her journey with Ivy Tech almost 13 years ago while working on her associate degree in office administration. Jessica plays an active role in the Lawrence County community. She is part of the Circle of Ivy women’s philanthropy group, where she also involves her nine-year-old daughter in raising funds to support Ivy Tech students.


ALLISON NEWELL RISCH

2002 GRADUATE

Associate of Science, Nursing

COLUMBUS

Allison Newell Risch graduated from Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette in 2002 with an associate degree in nursing. Allison’s nursing career exemplifies her commitment to her community, her excellence in patient care, and her ability to educate those in her field. She is a shining example to future and current nursing students of what they can accomplish in the medical field. Allison continues to be involved with Ivy Tech Columbus through her family’s creation of the Gladys Pitt Educational Endowment, a scholarship that supports nursing students.


AMANDA CROWE

2008 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Human Services

EVANSVILLE

Amanda Crowe graduated from Ivy Tech Community College Evansville in 2008 with an associate degree in human services. Currently serving as the Vice President of Human Resources at the Evansville Rescue Mission, Amanda was nominated for the Distinguished Alumni Award by a previous client. Amanda’s story exemplifies the hard work and dedication it takes to succeed. Her experience at Ivy Tech gave her the chance to invest in herself, set an example for her children, and take pride in completing her degree.


GARY GEE

2013 & 2014 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Fine Arts, Visual Communication & Fine Arts

INDIANAPOLIS

Gary Gee knows the importance of following one’s dream. The celebrated Indianapolis-based artist known for his vibrant, community-focused mixed media and ceramic work feels as if he’s living his “childhood dream.” A highly decorated Indianapolis artist and recipient of the Beckmann Emerging Artists Fellowship, Gary began his educational journey at Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis as a visual communication & fine arts student.

 


TONY PULLEY

1977 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Accounting, Business Management

FORT WAYNE

In 1977, Tony Pulley received two associate degrees from Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne: one in accounting and one in business management. Currently the President of Crossroads Bank’s Investment Center, Tony believes his level of success can be achieved by “anyone that has the entrepreneurial spirit.” Beyond his professional achievements, he has served his community through years on boards like the Wabash Advisory Board, Wabash Child Abuse Prevention Council, Ivy Tech Advisory Committee, United Fund, and many others.


TRICIA HALL BUCHHOLZ

2005 GRADUATE

Associate of Science, Criminal Justice

LAFAYETTE

While studying at Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette, Tricia served as an intern in Tippecanoe County Juvenile Court, received the Dean’s Award for Criminal Justice, and represented her graduating class as the student commencement speaker. After graduating cum laude, earning her Associate of Science in criminal justice from Ivy Tech, Tricia received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University in 2008 and her law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2016. Currently Tricia works as an Assistant Director in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at Florida State University where she has received the Florida State University Division of Student Affairs New Employee of the Year Award.


ANGIE BOWMAN

1994 GRADUATE

Technical Certificate, Practical Nursing

KOKOMO

Angie Bowman is known in her community as a compassionate nurse practitioner who cares about her patients. This 1994 Kokomo alumna has taught as an Ivy Tech adjunct faculty member and continually goes above and beyond in helping future nurses by serving as a preceptor. Following her Ivy Tech education, Angie received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan and Master of Science in nursing from Ball State University, but she still credits Ivy Tech for launching her nursing career.


DAVID WISMANN

2013 GRADUATE

Associate of Science, Criminal Science

LAWRENCEBURG

David Wismann graduated from Ivy Tech Community College Lawrenceburg with an Associate of Science in criminal justice. While pursuing his degree, David worked at the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office. David went on to receive his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in criminal justice. Today he works as the Security Chief at Hidden Valley Lake and he remains connected with Ivy Tech as an adjunct criminal justice professor.


STEVEN SCHROERS

2016 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Computer Information Technology

LAKE COUNTY

As the IT Manager for Lake County’s 911 Center, Steven Schroers uses his Associate of Science in computer information technology from Ivy Tech Community College Lake County to serve 15 communities and their public safety agencies. A volunteer and District EMS Element Vice Chairman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Steven is active in the Lake County community and loves sharing information about the new Ivy Tech center.


CHERYL FERWERDA

2014 GRADUATE

Associate of General Studies, Associate of Applied Science, Healthcare Specialist
Certificates of Pharmacy Technician, Insurance/Billing Coding, Medical Assisting, and Elder Care Certificates

MARION

Cheryl Ferwerda returned to college after 38 years in the food industry. Cheryl went on to complete four certificates and associate degrees in healthcare sciences and general studies from Ivy Tech Community College Marion. In 2017, she received her bachelor’s degree in allied health science/health management from Indiana University-Kokomo. She currently works as an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech and as a Navigator at the Madison County Community Health Center. Focused on patients and continuity of care, Cheryl helps community members find access to health care and resources, regardless of income.


JENNIFER PATTERSON NOLAN

2011 GRADUATE

Associate of Science, Nursing

MADISON

Jennifer Patterson Nolan was the first person in her family to go to college. Jennifer received her first degree, an associate in nursing, at Ivy Tech Community College Madison. She went on to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Currently serving as the Manager of Clinical Operations at IU Health Saxony in the emergency room, Jennifer’s passion for advocacy and care is reflected in her emergency department, ranked highest in patient satisfaction among the entire IU Health system. Beyond her professional achievements, Jennifer is a member of the Ivy Tech Foundation’s League of Ivy Young Professionals Council.


FRANK SCOTT

2011 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Human Services

MUNCIE

Frank graduated with an associate degree in human services from Ivy Tech Community College Muncie and is currently the president of the Whitley Community Council, a neighborhood organization that has won two national awards. His neighborhood association opened a food pantry which has served hundreds of people in the community. He has also become the precinct committee man for his district and serves as Vice Chairman of Operations for the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. He believes his time at Ivy Tech gave him the motivation he needed.


BRENDA STELLEMA

2014 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Fine Arts,Technical Certificate, Human Services, Health Sciences

MICHIGAN CITY

Brenda Stellema has received multiple certificates and degrees from Ivy Tech Community College Michigan City, including an associate degree in human services and another in health sciences. After graduating from Ivy Tech, Brenda joined Family Advocates, an agency working with children who have been abused and neglected. During that time, she developed the Court Appointed Youth Advocate (CAYA) Program to assist youth struggling with delinquency and behaviors impacting their academic and personal progress. Over the past five years, CAYA has helped over 90 teens, a number Brenda hopes to increase as she works toward state funding for a statewide launch.

DESIREE POLK-BLAND

2006 GRADUATE

Associate of Science, General Studies

RICHMOND

Desiree Polk-Bland had already received a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees before she received her associate degree in general studies from Ivy Tech Community College Richmond. The Executive Dean of Student Affairs at Columbus State Community College in Ohio says her time at Ivy Tech provided perspective on her professional goals and enhanced her professional abilities in the field of higher education. Desiree established the Desiree Polk Endowed Scholarship to support Ivy Tech students in achieving their goals of higher education.

DONNA RILEY

2008 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Office Administration

SELLERSBURG

In 2008, Donna Riley earned her degree in office administration from Ivy Tech Community College Sellersburg. “I got the college degree that I always wanted at the age of 55!,” Donna says. “Ivy Tech made that possible!” As the retired Executive Director of Leadership Southern Indiana, Donna has received recognition for her leadership and active role in the community, including Leadership Southern Indiana’s Servant Leader Award in 2014 and the Distinguished Toastmaster Award from Toastmaster International in 2011.

JENNIFER DEFREES

2012 GRADUATE

Associate of Science, Accounting

SOUTH BEND/ELKHART

In 2012, Jennifer Defrees graduated from Ivy Tech Community College Elkhart with an associate degree in accounting, which she followed up with a bachelor’s in accounting from Indiana Tech. Today she impacts the lives of hundreds of children in her community through her work at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County and through her service at home as a foster parent. On top of her work with youth, Jennifer still finds time to give back to Ivy Tech and has served as a speaker at the Ivy Impact Gala where she shared her success story as a proud alumna.

BLAKE HARTMAN

1973 GRADUATE

Associate of Science

TERRE HAUTE

Blake Hartman credits getting into the welding field completely to his experience at Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute. The owner of Big Inch Fabricators and Construction, Blake accepted his first welding inspection job for a pipeline company before graduation. This job lasted 25 years and led to him becoming the manager of construction over five states. Blake remains involved with Ivy Tech through his endowment with the Parke County Community Foundation, which will fund three welding scholarships for Parke County graduates. He also helps support and fund the Rockville location through his board seat at the Rockville Parke County Learning Center.

JOEL TROXEL

2004 GRADUATE

Associate of Applied Science, Accounting

VALPARAISO

Joel Troxel was 16 years old when he dual enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College Valparaiso as a high school sophomore. Joel is now a Certified Public Accountant who owns JET Consulting Services, Inc., a business consulting, financial services, and technology company. Joel is an active volunteer in his community and continues to give back to Ivy Tech by assisting in fundraising events for the Ivy Tech Foundation.