The Vernon's Support Spans Decades, Touches Multiple Regions
Randy and Kathy Vernon have been integral to the development of Ivy Tech Lafayette. Their leadership and support are part of the region's history, and they exemplify the power that the College's supporters have to Change Lives.
Kathy started her relationship with Ivy Tech as a student, earning a technical certificate in respiratory therapy in 1977. Now an executive territory business manager for Bristol Myers Squibb, a global pharmaceutical company, Kathy has also supported Ivy Tech in a volunteer leadership capacity. She has been a member of the region's resource development council, serving as chair during the first campaign in the region's history. Kathy has also been on the regional board of trustees since 1996, leading the way during a decade of expansion that has included new instructional centers in Crawfordsville and Monticello (with another planned in Frankfort).
Randy, a certified financial planner and principal at Pinnacle Wealth Partners, has supported Kathy along the way - and, as a result, has also developed into an ardent supporter of Ivy Tech. The couple has demonstrated this through generous gifts to the Ivy Tech Foundation that support scholarships and capital projects.
One of the Vernons' chief interests is expanding and improving the campus. Kathy says that's why they have gotten involved and remain motivated to help.
"Innovation keeps things fresh," she explains. "It is an absolute necessity not only to attract student and faculty talent but also for Ivy Tech to continue on a course of progress."
The Vernons also share a vision for Ivy Tech to be part of the larger development of their community. To that end, Kathy helped develop a partnership initiative between the College and the Tippecanoe County Public Library. As a result, the Ivy Tech Lafayette campus library serves not only college students, but thousands of area families as well. Kathy says this partnership is reflective of the role Ivy Tech plays in her community and throughout the state.
"Ivy Tech continues to offer a friendly learning environment today - just as it did when I attended," she says. "The college is quick to react to the needs of its community. And the state of Indiana benefits from Ivy Tech due to the college's willingness to expand statewide in addition to offering high school students the opportunity to achieve credits toward certification while still in high school."
This appreciation for Ivy Tech's statewide impact was reinforced during a trying time in the couple's life. In 2009, Randy Vernon was diagnosed with a serious illness that required specialized treatment at Indiana University. Those who administer this treatment need advanced training provided through the radiation therapy program at Ivy Tech Bloomington. Recognizing this, and in gratitude for Randy's recovery, the Vernons established a scholarship for students in that program.
"Facing cancer is a scary thing for anyone," Kathy says. "We felt the best way to give back
in a manner that would have a lasting
impact was to establish an endowed scholarship for that particular program. The results of our involvement with Ivy Tech make it easy to continue to be involved. That's the ultimate reward."
It's just one more example of how the Vernons have been there at seemingly every turn, ready to support Ivy Tech and its students.