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Marchant named chairman of Ivy Tech's state board of trustees

By Andy Graham 331-4215 |
August 12, 2010

Bloomington businessman Lee Marchant summed up the conversation conducted as he was heading home Thursday afternoon from Evansville this way: “Ivy Tech is a passion that just gets inside you.”

And now Marchant can act upon that passion as the chairman of Ivy Tech Community College’s state board of trustees. The CEO of LJM Enterprises was elevated to that position Thursday by a unanimous vote of the governor-appointed 14-member board.

Among Marchant’s many roles as a local civic leader was a stint chairing the board of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, and he has served Ivy Tech for more than 20 years, including the past 12 as a director of Ivy Tech Foundation, which raised nearly $80 million during his years as chair from 1997 to 1999.

“Lee has served Ivy Tech long and well,” said Ivy Tech-Bloomington chancellor John Whikehart, who attended Thursday’s board meeting. “He’s been president of the foundation board, and still serves on that board. He was an honorary chair of our local Grow Ivy campaign from 2003. He’s a very strong advocate for our health programs, particularly nursing. He’s just a great choice by the board to lead it over the next year. It’s a wonderful honor, well-deserved.”

Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder, in a press release issued regarding Marchant’s appointment, said, “Few individuals have done as much for Ivy Tech over the last two decades as Lee Marchant. He has a keen
recognition of this institution’s role in Indiana, its remarkable knack for efficiency and its potential for growth.”

Growth is a primary issue for the college. Its enrollment grew 24.7 percent statewide in 2009, then 32.9 percent for the spring 2010 semester to around 120,000 students served annually. Marchant said that “200,000 is on the scope” for the near future.

“In the years to come, due to the economic conditions and folks recognizing our advantages, we’ll grow rapidly,” Marchant said. “It’s the most economical way to go (to college), for one thing, and if you plan your two years with us carefully, your credits will transfer to a four-year institution. And with us, you’ll get smaller class sizes and more individual attention.

“We’ve worked and worked to be more efficient, to do more with less state funding. As long as state funding is scarce, we’ll have to be creative and responsive with measures such as distance education (remote lessons, with people often studying from home) and leasing facilities. We’ll try our best not to grow beyond our ability to provide quality instruction.”

Marchant said Ivy Tech also intends to maximize its ability to provide flexible, speedy training.

“Deaconess Hospital in Evansville wanted to go ‘paperless’ with its record-keeping, and Ivy Tech trained over 3,000 employees — including 300 doctors — in what was a monumental task done exceptionally well in a short period of time,” he said. “Indiana being a one-community-college state, we can adjust quickly for any training need to help Indiana’s ability to recover quicker and better from the recession.”

Lee Marchant

Copyright: 2010