Ivy Tech Community College Northeast celebrated its 47th annual commencement ceremony tonight at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The College graduated nearly 1,000 students in Fort Wayne and awarded nearly 1,500 associate degrees, certificates, and technical certificates.
Ivy Tech Community College statewide is awarding more than 19,000 credentials at commencements taking place from May 6 to 20.
HONORARY DEGREE: The College awarded an honorary degree to Donna Kessler, owner of Calhoun Street Soup, Salad, and Spirits. Donna attended classes at Ivy Tech Northeast in 2006 and 2007, earning credits in hospitality administration. Before she could complete her degree, however, the opportunity to open Calhoun Street presented itself. Nearly 10 years later, what started as a small lunch spot just south of downtown Fort Wayne has grown into a complete bar, restaurant, and concert venue. Bands and acts from across the country play at Calhoun Street.
STUDENT SPEAKER: The Class of 2017’s student speaker was Olivia Koehler, who graduated with an associate degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. Koehler, who was home-schooled, is the College’s first female graduate of the Electrical Engineering Technology program. She shared her story about how she chose the program, which is also her father’s field. She was always good at science and math in high school, and a former professor, Koehler’s father invited her to sit in on one of his electrical engineering classes—she loved it.
BUD CURTIS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENT: This year, the College begins a new tradition: awarding two Curtis Awards each year. One will reward an outstanding graduate from the College’s Career and Technical Divisions and the other, from an outstanding graduate from the University Transfer Division. This year’s winners are Rachel Chaney, who graduates with an associate degree in Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology from the School of Technology, and Karina Vazquez, who graduates with an associate degree in General Studies from the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The Bud Curtis Award winners are chosen from among the Ivy Tech Northeast Outstanding Student Awards, which are awarded to one Ivy Tech Northeast student per academic school. This year’s Outstanding Student Awards went to the following students:
- Olivia Koehler, School of Applied Science & Engineering Technology
- Holly Sides, School of Business
- Jeremy Friedel, School of Computing & Informatics
- Janet French, School of Education
- Marianne Bay, School of Fine Arts & Design
- Javier Hernandez, School of Health Sciences
- Karina Vazquez, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Cameron Maney, School of Nursing
- Parvielle Riggens, School of Public & Social Services
- Rachel Chaney, School of Technology
PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUCTION: Erin Salyers, the College’s department chair in Visual Communications and Design Technology, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. She will serve as Ivy Tech Northeast’s nominee for the statewide Glenn W. and Mary Catherine Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction. Each of the 14 Ivy Tech regions selects a nominee to win the award, which is presented to a statewide winner.
ADJUNCT FACULTY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUCTION: Holly Jackson, an anatomy and physiology instructor, received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Excellence in Instruction. She will serve as Ivy Tech Northeast’s nominee for the statewide Gerald I. Lamkin Award for adjunct faculty members. Each of the 14 Ivy Tech regions selects a nominee to win the award, which is presented to a statewide winner.
SPECIAL NOTE: Students and guests used #IvyTechGrad to discuss the ceremony and festivities on social media. Use the hashtag to see graduation photos and messages of encouragement on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.