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Student speakers to lead Ivy Tech commencement tonight

By Mike Leonard 331-4368 |
May 14, 2010

A laid-off Visteon worker, a Hurricane Katrina survivor, a mother of five children.

Three Ivy Tech graduates with compelling life experiences will be the speakers when Ivy Tech holds commencement exercises at 6 tonight at the Indiana University Auditorium.

About 470 students will receive associate degrees, technical certificates and other citations. Thirty-two percent of those recognized tonight will graduate with honors, including 15 with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.
“We are proud of our graduates who have made incredible sacrifices to complete their educational goals,” Chancellor John Whikehart said in a pre-commencement statement. “Ivy Tech takes great pride in its students and we are thrilled to celebrate their accomplishments and commitment to education.”

Leading the prospective graduates into the auditorium as student marshal will be Justin Tait, a Bloomington High School North alumnus and outgoing student senate president. “When I got out of high school, I was not at all sure what I wanted to do. I decided to try Ivy Tech and in time it helped me focus on where I wanted to go,” he said this week.

Although he majored in general studies, Tait will move on to IU, where he’s applied for admission into the Kelley School of Business. He hopes to major in entrepreneurship or management.

Tait is proud of his year as student body president and cites accomplishments including the expansion of the student senate and its push to create more student scholarships. When he becomes an alumnus, Tait will immediately lead a committee with a 10-year plan for creating a student scholarship endowment.

The Bloomington resident said he initially thought he’d transfer to IU before earning an Ivy Tech degree, but his experience at the campus on Bloomington’s far-west side made him want an Ivy Tech diploma. “They treat everyone with respect and the thing I like the most is I did not feel like a number. You can always get help when you need it, whether it’s financially or academically.

“I was really able to learn a lot each semester and each teacher really seemed to take pride in what they were doing,” he said.

The commencement speakers are Monique Dallas, a business administration major and president of the Indiana chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society; Christopher Reinhart, a design technology major and this year’s winner of the Ivy Tech Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian Award; and Rick Wagers, a business administration graduate and member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Each student will talk about their experiences at Ivy Tech and how education has changed their lives.

Ceremonies today
Ivy Tech will recognize students for outstanding academic achievements at 10 a.m. today in the Ivy Tech student commons. Academic program chairs will present awards to students who excelled in their programs of study.
Ivy Tech will graduate 148 honors students tonight at the 6 p.m. commencement ceremony at the IU Auditorium.
John Whikehart, chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus, offered congratulations to the families of honors graduates. “Family is the backbone of support for many of our honors students, and no one is happier to see them graduate.” he said. “It is up to these fine students, who are now Ivy Tech alumni, to carry the torch and help Ivy Tech continue its reputation of academic achievement and commitment to community.”

John Whikehart, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College's Bloomington campus