Ivy Tech Community College announces mortuary science endowment

EAST CHICAGO- Ivy Tech Community College’s  mortuary science program advisory committee are the “ears and eyes” of the industry.  They are comprised of licensed Funeral Directors, Cemeterians, and Graduates from previous classes, as well as other funeral related professions.  “As a committee we have a responsibility to give back.  Many of the area funeral homes benefitted in one way or another from the Mortuary Science program”, states Mary Anne LaHayne, wife of Funeral Director Elden LaHayne. The LaHayne family has owned and operated the LaHayne Funeral Home in Hammond since the 1960’s.

The Mortuary Science Endowment project is headed by Mr. and Mrs. LaHayne. Mr. LaHayne has history with the program.  He assisted former program chair Rick Soria with moving the program from an idea to a fully-accredited mortuary science program at the East Chicago De La Garza campus.

The newly created Endowment will provide scholarships for students to complete their studies.  In addition, the monies generated by the endowment can be used for updated equipment for student use in the classroom.

Since the program’s inception in 2002, over 50 funeral homes spanning over three states have served as practicum sites for mortuary students.  Many students are second and even fourth generation funeral directors.  And, many graduates are serving communities across the country.

“My son, Jim Jr., graduated in the program’s first class.  He is continuing the family tradition of providing quality service to the communities we serve”, adds Jim Burns, Sr., President of Burns Funeral Homes. “I’ve joked with Jim and his wife Michelle that their eight-week old son, Caden, will continue the Burns Funeral Home family tradition,” adds Rick Soria, dean for the school of public & social services.  Jim Burns, Jr. was a student in  many of Dean Soria’s classes.

“When determining who would be selected to serve in the role as chair of this initiative, Mr. LaHayne’s name was the first that came up in conversation.  He is dedicated to the funeral profession and the College’s mission”, adds Nhemya Ward, Mortuary Science program chair.

The advisory committee consists of the following members: Bill Burdan; Burdan Funeral Home; Bob Cole; Schroeder-Lauer Funeral Home; John Evan; Edmonds & Evans Funeral Homes; Lynn Haverstock; Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel; Kim Jones; Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Cemetery; Michelle Katsaros; Geisen Funeral, Cremation, and Reception Centre; Kevin Kish; Kish Funeral Home; Elden LaHayne; LaHayne Funeral Home; Arthur Lax; Lax Mortuary; Angela Manuel; Manuel Memorial Funeral Home; Patrician Owen; Guy & Allen Funeral Directors; Ryan Parker; John S. Pruzin; Solan-Pruzin Funeral Homes

Tony Rendina; Rendina Funeral Home; Sam Smith; Divinity Funeral Home; Dean Wagner; Solan-Pruzin Funeral Homes; Ray White; White Funeral Home; Spencer Leak, Jr.; Leak and Sons Funeral Home.

To learn more about attending a cocktail reception in support of the Endowment please contact Cindy Hall, executive director of resource development at (219) 464-8514 or cjhall@ivytech.edu.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech is Indiana’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.

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