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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

O’Bannon Institute keeps the focus on public service

"Our Opinion"

April 26, 2008

In an era of cynicism about government, the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service at Ivy Tech Community College is an annual springtime breath of fresh air in which governing and public service take center stage.

In a year of intense political interest in Indiana, the 2008 event couldn’t have been better timed.

The O’Bannon Institute started on Wednesday, with recognition of individual Ivy Tech students, faculty members and staff employees. Thursday featured a dinner with national media icon Sam Donaldson, and Friday included a day of events: panel discussions on the three key issues of health care, education and the environment, and a conversation with political strategist and analyst Paul Begala.

It’s difficult to imagine a better way to get people to think about major issues, political realities and the overarching necessity of public service.

Friday was a day that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came to town; it was two weeks after presidential candidate Barack Obama made two stops in Bloomington; it was 10 days before Hoosiers will vote in a primary of supreme importance nationally.

It also was a day that the O’Bannon Institute, as always, focused squarely on how politics, government and public service intersect. That’s a lesson that sometimes gets lost.

Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart and his staff at Ivy Tech deserve high praise for this annual event.