Rhonda Kittle Combines Her Love For Teaching, Cooking and Ivy Tech To Support Students
One of Rhonda Kittle's most ardent passions is sharing her knowledge with others.
"I'm just one of those people who has always loved to teach," she says.
However, there's something else she enjoys just as much: cooking. That's why she chose home economics as her college major. That's why the hours seem to pass by so quickly when she's in the kitchen. And that's why, when combined with her desire to help others learn, she's such a strong supporter of Ivy Tech and the College's efforts to educate students in hospitality and culinary arts.
Kittle's appreciation for Ivy Tech became clear a few years ago when the Kittle Foundation, which she leads as president, made a $50,000 pledge to the Ivy Tech Foundation to help the campus accommodate the growth of the hospitality program. Soon after making this pledge, however, Rhonda learned of the expansion of the Indianapolis campus, which included Ivy Tech's acquisition of the former St. Vincent hospital building and the building that had been the Stouffer Hotel.
Kittle, who helps lead Ivy Tech's efforts in hospitality education as a volunteer, saw an opportunity for Ivy Tech to serve an even greater number of students. As a result, she decided to do even more, doubling the Foundation's pledge to $100,000.
"I have continued admiration for everything Ivy Tech does throughout the state," Kittle says, "in allowing people to get an education suited to what they want and making it affordable."
The fact that Ivy Tech makes education affordable is incredibly meaningful to Kittle. She says that, due to her parents' belief in education, she was fortunate to be able to earn a college degree without accruing any debt, and she knows today's students may not have that same opportunity if not for colleges like Ivy Tech.
"Today, many people need a hand up," she explains. "You can't move forward in life without an education, but it's difficult to go to some colleges today and not leave saddled with huge debt. That's why Ivy Tech is so, so important. Ivy Tech makes it possible for students to fit college into their lives."
Kittle says her main motivation is simple: to allow those who share her passions to do something so close to their heart. That, she says, is the recipe for success.
"I've met these students, and they love what they do," she says. "It's just so rewarding to see young people develop their skills, or see someone retrain themselves, and we have a lot of people who need to do that these days, so they can get back on track. It makes it all worthwhile when you're part of something that allows people to get where they want to be."