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April 29, 2004
O'Bannon Institute a fitting legacy
Ivy Tech program devoted to community service has great potential
The first O'Bannon Institute for Community Service will be Friday at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. It should be the beginning of a new and wonderful tradition.
Community service is one of the missions Ivy Tech-Bloomington has undertaken under Chancellor John Whikehart. He has acknowledged the state's major investment in a new campus for Ivy Tech, and his desire for the campus to "pay back" the state and the Bloomington community through instilling a commitment to community service in its students.
Ivy Tech-Bloomington under Whikehart is on a strong and exciting path. The community service mission — along with missions of meeting the educational needs of students and serving work force and training needs of area employers — places Ivy Tech near the top of the list when considering community assets.
Friday's institute will feature four major sessions with about 20 participants.
Former Bloomington Mayor John Fernandez will facilitate a discussion called "Making the Nonprofit Engine Run Smoothly — How do we Best Help Those in Need?"
Seven elected officials will participate in a session called "Political Participation as Community Service in the 21st Century — Why Should I Get Involved?" Ninth District U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, State Sens. Robert Garton, Vi Simpson and Becky Skillman, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, Bloomington City Council member David Sabbagh and Monroe County Commissioner Joyce Poling make up a powerful panel that represents federal, state, city and county politics.
Representatives from Indiana University and Ivy Tech will bring things together with a session called "Integrating Higher Education and Community Service — Helping Students Understand the Responsibility of Living in a Democratic Society."
The final event of the day, moderated by Indianapolis television journalist Debby Knox, will be "A Discussion with Judy O'Bannon." The institute is named for her late husband, Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon, who died last year.
"Gov. Frank O'Bannon's legacy was the creation of a community college system in Indiana," Whikehart said last month in announcing the institute. "I can think of no better way to honor his legacy than to name our program the O'Bannon Institute for Community Service."
The event shapes up to be a fitting tribute to O'Bannon. Young people attending will be provided ideas and inspiration about serving their communities. Those lessons will translate into a stronger Indiana for decades to come.