Lafayette Journal and Courier
By BRIAN WALLHEIMER
Darla Whitely knew she just couldn’t get by on retail jobs any longer.
Going back to school was the only real option if she planned to get a better job, so she started over again. This weekend, she’ll see the fruits of that labor as she walks across the stage and receives her associate degree from Ivy Tech Community College.
“I was having a hard time finding a job that wasn’t minimum wage,” said Whitely, 42, of Crawfordsville. “It’s hard to go back to school when you’ve been out for a while. It’s a big deal.”
Ivy Tech’s Lafayette campus will hand out associate degrees and technical certificates to 255 graduates during a ceremony Sunday.
That’s about half the students actually eligible to participate.
Andy Miller, director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, will be the commencement speaker. Ivy Tech’s first provost, Donald Doucette, will confer the degrees.
Maggie Fuller, a dental assisting program graduate, will deliver the student response.
Whitely is typical of the kind of student Ivy Tech serves. Many in the student body are coming back to school to advance in their current fields or start a new career. Whitely, whose associate degree is in management, is actually going to work on another degree at Ivy Tech in human services so she can get a job in addiction services.
“I’m just more geared toward working with people,” Whitely said. “The business would work well if I worked in the office (of a treatment center).”
Lafayette campus Chancellor David Bathe said getting an Ivy Tech degree can make a big difference in a person’s life.
“It provides a much higher income level for them,” Bathe said. “That certainly is a huge asset for these persons who have come back.”
Bathe said about half of Ivy Tech’s students will transfer to four-year universities such as Purdue, while others are going to learn a skill.
“This is the start of some of their careers,” Bathe said.
Sunday’s ceremony will also feature the presentation of a Distinguished Alumni Award to Lafayette City Clerk Cindy Murray. Murray is a 1979 graduate of Ivy Tech’s medical laboratory technician program.
The college will also present the Excellence in Teaching Award to Charlene McAndrews, Diann Robinson and LeAnne Johnson, all Ivy Tech instructors.