SOUTH BEND, IND.– Dr. Thomas G. Coley, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College North Central Region, announced Thursday that Mervin D. Lung, former owner of Patrick Industries, and his wife, Dorothy, have endowed their namesake scholarship with a gift of $4.5 million.
In a letter addressed to the Elkhart County community, Dorothy Lung stated, “We have always strongly believed in a good educational system. Ivy Tech has been a large part of creating an opportunity for the residents of Elkhart County to have access to higher education, thus creating a better life for them and their families. For many years, we have supported this work, and now look to create a foundation to ensure generations to come access to higher education.
“Our gift represents a challenge to those of like mind. While our final gift will support many scholarships, we hope that the community will provide for an equally inspiring place of learning. We call upon you to assist in supporting an additional $4.5 million to create a World Class Advanced Lean Manufacturing Training Center.”
The latest Lung Legacy Gift of $4.5 million means that scholarships will be available for multiple generations of Elkhart County residents to attend Ivy Tech. With this bequest in place, Ivy Tech, along with the Lungs, is now challenging the Elkhart County community to help build a state-of-the-art facility at the Ivy Tech Elkhart County campus.
Ivy Tech plans to expand the current Elkhart County campus with the addition of a World Class Advanced Lean Manufacturing Training Center. According to Chancellor Coley, “Our region is already showing signs of change as we recover from the recession. At Ivy Tech we see both a responsibility and an opportunity to support the change and economic development of our region. Our role is to support and help employers as they navigate their new direction with what is emerging as more of a technology-based mode with employees who have more advanced skills. We provide workers with portable, transferable skills to meet industry needs. Our training at the World Class Advanced Lean Manufacturing Training Center will offer a strong tool in transitioning our high school graduates into the workplace. “
Ivy Tech has had an Elkhart County presence since the mid-1970s, offering classes in local high schools. When it became clear that the educational needs of Elkhart County were not being sufficiently met, local officials partnered with the college to establish a more permanent operating center for Ivy Tech. Mervin Lung supported Ivy Tech’s growth and in 1987 he purchased the former Lands Motor Co. building, renovated it and made it available for the college’s use.
In 1987, the Lungs placed the building in trust with the Elkhart County Community Foundation, with the proceeds from the trust providing scholarship assistance for Elkhart County residents. The scholarship provides a tuition discount of $35 per credit hour to Elkhart County residents who don’t otherwise qualify for financial aid. The Lung Scholarship supplements Ivy Tech’s already affordable tuition, to ensure that college is accessible to all Elkhart county residents. The Lungs history of giving back to the community and supporting the mission of Ivy Tech continued when the building was given to Ivy Tech in 2011.
Since the Lung Scholarship was established, more than $2 million in tuition assistance has been awarded to students.
The Lungs also funded an endowment that supports the Licensed Practical Nursing program at the Elkhart County campus.
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.