“Keeping students enrolled through the completion of their degree is important for our community, our businesses, and everyone in this room,” First Source Bank Regional President Matt Vessely said as he presented a $15,000 check to the Ivy Tech Foundation at their annual fundraiser at Aberdeen Manor Friday night. “We appreciate all that Ivy Tech does to make our community a better place.”
This year’s event, Salute to the Stars, featured a silent auction, delicious dinner and dessert, and entertainment from Jim Bulanda and Haley Hehr, who put on a show of music and laughter everyone could appreciate. The event raised funds for the Meet the Need program, which provides scholarships to help students “cross the finish line.”
“Meet the Need helps students who are three or four classes away from graduation cross the finish line when financial aid runs out,” said Cindy Hall, Executive Director of Resource Development for Ivy Tech. “Sometimes that’s all it takes.”
“Ivy Tech is all about helping upgrade skills for our students and the better jobs they can get,” Hall said. “Ninety-five percent of Ivy Tech grads stay in their communities. The more people we can help cross the finish line, the greater the impact on the economic development in the communities in which we live.”
Salute the Stars distinguishes itself from the Ivy Tech Foundation’s fall fundraiser, the Chancellor Scholarship Event, because it’s a celebration among friends.
“It’s different from other gatherings because of the long-term goodwill gathered in the room,” said Jared Riddle, English Dept Chair at the Lake County Campus. “It’s a gathering of friends who have a common purpose. We’re all very close and believe in the mission of creating success for these students.”
Before dinner was served, State Trustee Stewart McMillan told stories about the lives affected by Ivy Tech, like a young man who made and fulfilled a promise to his dying aunt. McMillan’s first-hand anecdotes painted a picture of the road to success paved by the support of those in the room.
Ella Hill, Student Government President of the Lake County campus, offered the student perspective of the efforts of Salute the Stars.
“My professors have fueled my passion and showed me who I can become. They helped me to realize that my dreams could grow even larger,” Hill said. “I have a dream to return to Ivy Tech as a professor and pass on the support and inspiration that I have received from all of you. I could not do it without you and your donations. Success is a community effort.”
Foundation supporter Sally Nalbor offered the invocation before the meal, celebrating the positive impact Ivy Tech has on our community.
“This is an incredible celebration of what we do,” Riddle said. “We work with the community, get together, talk about what we’re doing and make sure we’re all on the same page working toward student success.”
“Meet the Need has evolved into the initiative we’re celebrating tonight,” Vessely said of the program that helps students across all three counties, “Students on all campuses will receive assistance and help students achieve their dreams.”
For more information on Ivy Tech Community College visit their website https://www.ivytech.edu/.