Media Information
Amanda J. Billings
Executive Director of Marketing and Communications
Phone: (812) 330-6222
Fax: (812) 330-6205

This Story is provided by The Herald Times

O'Bannon Institute to feature Pulitzer winner Eugene Robinson

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is dinner speaker

By Nicole Brooks
331-4232 |

April 29, 2009

The focus of Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute for Community Service is “A Historic Presidency: The First 100 Days,” and considering the topic and the featured speakers, Chancellor John Whikehart feels the stars are aligning.

“We set the theme of 100 days before we knew who would be elected president,” he said. Ivy Tech then booked speaker Eugene Robinson, a political columnist for The Washington Post who earlier this month was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on President Barack Obama’s election.

“A blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while. That’s kind of how I feel right now,” Whikehart said.

And author Doris Kearns Goodwin, known for historic works on American presidents, speaks the day after Obama’s 100th day as president.

“I’m going to look like a genius,” Whikehart chuckled of the almost-perfect coincidence.

In its sixth year, the two-day O’Bannon Institute is organized through the college’s Center for Civic Engagement to promote community service and an engagement with topics affecting society.

Thursday, Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff will spend the day volunteering with area agencies, including Area 10 on Aging, the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and the Boys and Girls Club. The agencies have created community service projects for the Ivy Tech volunteers, Whikehart said.

The Thursday night dinner with Goodwin at the Indiana University Memorial Union is a fundraiser that supports the following day’s events. The O’Bannon dinner used to draw about 100 people. This year’s is sold out with 430, Whikehart said.

Friday brings together experts in health care, foreign policy and economics for a series of public discussions in the college’s Student Commons, in the main campus building at 200 Daniels Way.

“It’s an important service I hope we play for our communities, that we provide a venue for these discussions,” Whikehart said.

The day’s activities are free and open to the public. However, reservations are requested. Call 330-6001 or e-mail to reserve a spot.

Friday’s schedule is as follows:

8:30 a.m.: Registration and continental breakfast, followed by welcoming remarks by former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon at 9 a.m..

9:40 a.m.: The first of three panel discussions. Facilitator Chuck Carney will host this discussion on health care.

11 a.m.: The second panel discussion focuses on foreign policy. Facilitator Ann Shea is a producer at WTIU and host of its “Weekly Special.”

1:15 p.m.: The final panel discussion deals with the economy. Facilitator Morton Marcus is an economist and director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center.

2:30 p.m.: A conversation with columnist Robinson will be moderated by Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg.

The Institute is named in honor of the late Governor Frank O’Bannon in recognition of the huge role he played in the formation of the state’s community college system and in commemoration of his commitment to community service, according to Ivy Tech.

For more information about the O’Bannon Institute and panel participants, visit