BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College Chancellor John R. Whikehart announced this week his retirement effective January 15, 2014, after 22 years of service with the college.
Whikehart has led the Bloomington region since 2001, which officially includes a six-county service area of Lawrence, Greene, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, and Owen counties, and recently also serving Brown and Orange counties. Under his leadership, enrollment at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus has grown by 150 percent, from 2,600 students at the Westbury complex in 2001, to 6,500 students served today at its main campus location at 200 Daniels Way.
“In my 22 years with the college, I have had the good fortune to witness the metamorphosis of Ivy Tech from a vocational and technical school into Indiana’s comprehensive community college,” Whikehart said. “It has been my honor to have led the Bloomington campus for the past 12 years, and to have worked with such a committed group of faculty and staff who have always put the success of our students above all else. Ivy Tech has been more than my employer over these 22 years. Linda and I feel strongly that it has been part of our family, and we have been blessed by the experience.”
In the past 12 years, Whikehart established five centers of excellence unique to Ivy Tech-Bloomington: the Center for Civic Engagement (2004), the Center for Lifelong Learning (2007), the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences (2009), the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship (2010), and the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center (2010).
The O’Bannon Institute for Community Service, which Whikehart created, is a program of the Center for Civic Engagement that brings together the community each spring to discuss topics related to volunteerism, nonprofits, education, and political and civic service. The inaugural Institute was launched in 2004 as a one-day event featuring keynote speaker, Judy O’Bannon. Today, this signature event takes place over three days and keynote speakers have included former U.S Senators such as Birch Bayh, presidential nominee George McGovern, Pulitzer-prize winning authors and journalists such as Doris Kearns Goodwin and Tom Brokaw, Governors, political advisers and columnists such as George F. Will, and former First Lady of the United States, Laura W. Bush.
The Center for Civic Engagement also tracks the total value of campus volunteerism, service-learning, and space donations. Last year alone, Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus made a $2.35 million economic contribution to the communities it serves.
In 2003, Whikehart was instrumental in House Bill No. 1209, the statewide transfer and articulation initiative that expanded course transfer options between state educational institutions. This transfer bill was the pathway that led Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington to offer Liberal Arts degrees that transfer to Indiana University Bloomington, now recognized among Ivy Tech campuses statewide. Ivy Tech-Bloomington has grown from offering only 39 transfer credit hours to more than 400 today.
In 2004, Whikehart launched “Grow Ivy Tech,” a capital campaign that succeeded its goal of $3 million, with a total of $5.3 million raised. Since then, Ivy Tech-Bloomington has raised a total of $22 million, averaging $2.4 million annually.
Whikehart has led the campus to receiving a total of $7.8 million in grants and awards, including a $1.2 million Strategic Skills Initiative (SSI) grant for workforce development, which was the second-highest award in the state, and the result of a partnership with the Monroe County Redevelopment Commission and County Commissioners to build the ICLS. The campus was also awarded a $1 million National Science Foundation grant for advancement of life sciences.
In 2006, Ivy Tech-Bloomington was awarded a $200,000 SSI grant, and created the “5-Star Program” to provide workforce training to nearly 1,400 employees of the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind.
Earlier this year, Whikehart earned approval from the legislature to move forward with a $24 million Phase II building expansion project, which is slated for completion in the 2015-16 academic year. Additionally, Ivy Tech-Bloomington has acquired a $1.6 million building on its main campus, and plans to move the School of Nursing across the street to the new building, opening in fall 2014.
During his tenure as Chancellor, Ivy Tech-Bloomington has received countless awards, including recently being named Employer of the Year by the National MS Society. The campus also received the 2013 Monroe County Community School Corporation Celebration of Success Partner Recognition Award. In 2012, Ivy Tech-Bloomington earned the Ivy Tech Glenn W. Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction. Other awards received include the 2011 Maurice E. Endwright Award by the Ellettsville Chamber of Commerce, the 2010 Diane Breeden-Lee Community Catalyst Award from the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, the 2009 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement, six consecutive U.S President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Awards, the 2007 State of Indiana Career and Technical Education, and the 2005 Employer Recognition Award from Stone Belt, among others.
He has served on 26 local boards and commissions as member or director, and currently serves the Monroe County NAACP, Bloomington Utilities Service Board, Region 8-Indiana Workforce Board, Indiana University Credit Union Board, Bloomington Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, Salvation Army Advisory Board, City of Bloomington Board of Public Safety, and the Indiana Campus Compact Executive Committee.
Whikehart will be named Chancellor Emeritus and has asked to serve in a volunteer capacity as co-chair of the upcoming capital campaign, and to assist with the 2014 annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service.