1,600 receive degrees at Ivy Tech’s 50th commencement
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org/(219) 302-0949 May 11, 2013 3:30PM
Physical therapy professor Victor Obajuluwa gets a hug from student Eileen Markanich just before the start of Commencement for Ivy Tech at the Genesis Center in Gary, Ind. Saturday May 11, 2013. Graduates from Ivy Tech's campuses in Gary, East Chicago, Valparaiso and Michigan City gathered to celebrate their achievements before a crowd of family and friends. | Stephanie Dowell~Post-Tribune
Kris Emaus, NiSource, member of the regional Board of Trustees for Ivy Tech Northwest
Norman Steider, former president and CEO of Memorial Hospital of Michigan City
Tom Keilman, director of public and government affairs at BP, Whiting Operation
Sgt. Louis T. Stewart, ROTC instructor, volunteer at Ivy Tech Community College Northwest
Distinguished Alumni Award: Melissa Osika, Valparaiso, a 2009 graduate
Distinguished Graduate Award: Eileen Markanich, physical therapy assistant
President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction: Marsha Eriks, surgical technology program chairwoman
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:26PM
GARY — A record number of students marched across the Genesis Center stage Saturday as Ivy Tech Community College marked its milestone 50th anniversary.
Ivy Tech Northwest handed out associate degrees and technical certificates to 1,598 students.
The students came from campuses in Gary, Valparaiso, East Chicago and Michigan City.
For many, such as Gary’s Joshua Lipscomb, 24, it represented a long journey toward a dream. A 2007 Wirt High graduate, Lipscomb has always wanted to work on cars.
Sickle cell anemia threatened that dream. His mother, Gwendolyn Lipscomb said her son was born with the disease and it forced him to take time off his studies. “With financial aid and through the prayers of the church and pastor, he finally is getting his automotive technology degree,” she said.
Lipscomb said he just got a job at a Toyota dealership in Merrillville as an oil changer. “I hope to move up from there. A dealership is where I wanted to be and I accomplished my goal.”
Jaclyn Fultz, 22, of Chesterton, received a degree in criminal justice. She plans to continue studies in law enforcement at Valparaiso University on a scholarship.
“It’s the biggest achievement done, I’ve gone through a lot of struggles but my family was behind me.”
Verenice Clopton, of Hammond, turned to Ivy Tech in 2010 after she was laid off from her job of 22 years in customer service at Landaur Inc., in Glenwood, Ill.
“Today is wonderful. I graduated from high school 40 years ago with honors and now I’m doing the same today.”
The graduates included four mothers and daughters.
Russell Baker, Ivy Tech vice president of academic affairs, singled out the achievements of Molly and Mary Dres, a mom and daughter from Valparaiso, who each received an associate degree in respiratory care.