The Lung Family Celebrates 25 Years of Giving to Ivy Tech
Ruben Cervantes is a lot like many of his peers at Ivy Tech Community College. In addition to being a student, he's a father. He has a full-time job. He has aspirations to continue his education after he graduates from Ivy Tech. And he might never have had the opportunity to attend college if not for some generous donors to the Ivy Tech Foundation.
"When I first met with my financial aid advisor, I was dealing with a lot of apprehensions and insecurities due to the fact that I did not qualify for government grants," he explains. "I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there was a generous family who was willing to invest into my education. To think that a family would be willing to give selflessly to a person they did not know was inconceivable."
That family is the Lungs of Elkhart. During the last twenty-five years, Mervin and Dorothy Lung have supported Ivy Tech in a number of ways. In 1987, they purchased the former Lands Motor Co., renovated it, and made it available to the College. Later that year, they placed the building in trust with the Elkhart County Community Foundation, providing scholarship assistance for Elkhart County residents with the proceeds of the trust. The scholarship provided a tuition discount of $35 per credit hour for Elkhart County residents who didn't otherwise qualify for financial aid. They also funded an endowment that supports the Licensed Practical Nursing program at the Elkhart County campus.
Earlier this year, the Lungs made their most generous commitment yet: $4.1 million to Ivy Tech for scholarships available to Elkhart County residents. And together with Ivy Tech, they are challenging the Elkhart County community to help build a state-of the-art lean advanced manufacturing training center at the Ivy Tech Elkhart County campus. This would allow Ivy Tech to provide train students for high-demand fields, with programming that would include:
- Automotive classes in a 15,000 square foot state-of-the-art automotive center
- Ivy Institute of Technology programs designed to immerse students in an accelerated program of study
- 10,000 square feet of flex space designed to complement programs like HVAC, industrial maintenance, energy technology, and other industry-identified programming
- Additional welding labs to allow for program expansion
The Lungs see their commitment, and the opportunity for Ivy Tech to help grow Elkhart's workforce, as an investment in the future of their community - and they encourage others to do their part as well.
"Ivy Tech has been a large part of creating an opportunity for the residents of Elkhart County to have access to higher education," said Dorothy Lung, "thus creating a better life for them and their families. For many years, we have supported this work, and now look to create a foundation to ensure future generations to access to higher education. Our pledge represents a challenge to those of like mind. While it will support many scholarships, we hope the community will provide for an equally inspiring place of learning."
Those words speak to the power of giving - and the powerful lessons imparted to students like Ruben Cervantes along the way.
"The Lungs are not just generous contributors," Cervantes said. "They are visionaries looking to establish a more educated society. Such a society naturally builds stronger and healthier communities."