INDIANAPOLIS –Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder and student Michael Rice have been invited by President Barack Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges scheduled for October 5 in Washington DC. Snyder is one of a selected number of presidents asked to attend and Rice is one of what is believed to be less than 10 students asked to attend.
President Obama asked Dr. Biden to convene this event to highlight the critical role that community colleges play in developing America’s workforce and reaching our educational goals. The summit is an opportunity to bring together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s evolving workforce, as well as the critical role these institutions play in achieving the President’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.
“We are honored by these invitations. This is a reflection of efforts of our faculty and staff across the state. The Ivy Tech Community College success story is receiving more and more attention. I will be honored to represent the thousands of faculty and staff across the state, who are so dedicated to our students and I know Michael is thrilled to represent those students,” President Snyder said “It is great to see that the national spotlight continues to shine on community colleges. It is more and more apparent that community colleges across the country will play the critical role in transforming our workforce today and well into the future.”
Community colleges are the largest part of America’s higher education system enrolling more than 8 million students each year. Last year, President Obama proposed the American Graduation Initiative to usher in a series of new innovations and reforms to expand and strengthen opportunities at America’s community colleges.
Prior to the summit, Dr. Biden urged Americans from across the country to submit their thoughts, questions and challenges for discussion as part of the summit dialogue via YouTube and an online dialogue forum. Several hundred Ivy Tech students took part in that request for dialogue.
As a lifelong educator and community college instructor for the past 17 years, Dr. Biden knows that community colleges are uniquely positioned to graduate more Americans with the skills that businesses and the economy will need to compete in the 21st century.
Rice, a 27-year old father of two is the oldest of three children and is the first in his family to attend college. After graduating from Arsenal Technical High School he started to take classes at Ivy Tech, but the birth of his first child forced him to start working full time and he had to drop out. He went to work in the banking industry and was very successful. When the economy started to shift he lost his job. It was at that time, that he decided that he wanted to return to school. He returned to Ivy Tech in January of 2009. Rice, a Nina Scholar, is currently a full-time student. He has been named to the Dean’s list since returning to College. Rice’s goal is to graduate from Ivy Tech in May, transfer to IUPUI and graduate with his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“Being asked to represent our students is an extremely humbling, yet exciting experience,” Rice said. “Ivy Tech has helped me take a new direction in my career and there are many students across America looking for the same type of direction from community colleges. It is important that people continue to look at how to support and assist community colleges across the country.”
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.