Ivy Tech Community College recognized 19 honorees at its annual Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony.
Since 1998, The Distinguished Alumni Award, previously the Outstanding Alumni Award, has celebrated the success of Ivy Tech alumni by recognizing a group of graduates who have made a lasting, positive contribution to the community, state or College since completing their education. As the highest honor alumni can receive, the Award is designated for individuals with outstanding professional, philanthropic or volunteer accomplishments.
“The Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes exceptional graduates from each of our 19 campuses across the state of Indiana,” said Sue Ellspermann, Ivy Tech president. “The success of the college can be measured by the achievements of our hundreds of thousands of graduates. We are proud of the countless contributions of our alumni to their communities, our state and beyond.”
The following alumni received the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018:
- Jordan Wolfe (Anderson campus): As a freshman in high school, Wolfe enrolled at Ivy Tech determined to knock out as many college credits as he could. Wolfe completed an associate degree in general studies before graduating high school.
- Jessica Strunk (Bloomington campus): Strunk currently serves as the vice chancellor of enrollment services at Ivy Tech Bloomington and is a member of the Circle of Ivy women’s philanthropy group. She also plays an active role in the Lawrence County community.
- Allison Newell Risch (Columbus campus): Risch’s nursing career exemplifies her commitment to her community and her excellence in patient care. She helps support Ivy Tech nursing students through her family’s scholarship, the Gladys Pitt Educational Endowment.
- Amanda Crowe (Evansville campus): Crowe currently serves as the vice president of human resources at the Evansville Rescue Mission. Her career path exemplifies her hard work and It has allowed her to set an example for her children and take pride in completing her degree.
- Gary Gee (Indianapolis campus): A highly decorated Indianapolis-based artist and recipient of the Beckmann Emerging Artists Fellowship, Gee feels as if he’s living his “childhood dream.” The artist is known for his vibrant, community-focused mixed media and ceramic work.
- Tony Pulley (Fort Wayne campus): Pulley is currently the president of Crossroads Bank’s Investment Center. He has served his community through years on boards like the Wabash Advisory Board, Wabash Child Abuse Prevention Council, Ivy Tech Advisory Committee, and many others.
- Tricia Hall Buchholz (Lafayette campus): Buchholz currently works as an assistant director in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at Florida State University where she received the Florida State University Division of Student Affairs New Employee of the Year Award.
- Angie Bowman (Kokomo campus): Bowman is known in her community as a compassionate nurse practitioner who cares about her patients. This 1994 alumna has taught as an Ivy Tech adjunct faculty member and continually goes above and beyond in helping future nurses by serving as a preceptor.
- David Wismann (Lawrenceburg campus): While pursuing his criminal justice degree, Wismann worked at the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office. He is now the security chief at Hidden Valley Lake and remains connected with Ivy Tech as an adjunct criminal justice professor.
- Steven Schroers (Lake County campus): As the IT manager for Lake County’s 911 Center, Schroers serves 15 communities and their public safety agencies. As a volunteer and District EMS Element vice chairman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, he is active in the Lake County community and loves sharing information about the new Ivy Tech center.
- Cheryl Ferwerda (Marion campus): Ferwerda returned to college after 38 years in the food industry, and after four certificates and an associate degree, she currently works as an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech and as a navigator at the Madison County Community Health Center.
- Jennifer Patterson Nolan (Madison campus): Currently the manager of Clinical Operations at IU Health Saxony in the emergency room, Nolan’s passion for advocacy and care is reflected in her emergency department, ranked highest in patient satisfaction among the entire IU Health system. Beyond her professional achievements, Nolan is a member of the Ivy Tech Foundation’s League of Ivy Young Professionals Council.
- Frank Scott (Muncie campus): Scott currently serves as the president of the Whitley Community Council, a neighborhood organization that has won two national awards, and as the vice chairman of operations for the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.
- Brenda Stellema (Michigan City campus): After graduating from Ivy Tech, Stellema joined Family Advocates, an agency that works with abused and neglected children. While there, she created the Court Appointed Youth Advocate (CAYA) Program to assist youth struggling with behaviors impacting their academic and personal progress. CAYA has helped over 90 teens in five years, and Stellema hopes to increase that as she works toward funding for a statewide launch.
- Desiree Polk-Bland (Richmond campus): Polk-Bland is currently the executive dean of student affairs at Columbus State Community College. She has given back to Ivy Tech through the formation of the Desiree Polk Endowed Scholarship, which supports Ivy Tech students in achieving their goals of higher education.
- Donna Riley (Sellersburg campus): As the retired executive director of Leadership Southern Indiana, Riley has received recognition for her leadership and active role in the community, including Leadership Southern Indiana’s Servant Leader Award in 2014 and the Distinguished Toastmaster Award from Toastmaster International in 2011.
- Jennifer Defrees (South Bend/Elkhart campus): Defrees impacts the lives of hundreds of children in her community through her work at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, her service at home as a foster parent, and her volunteerism with Ivy Tech.
- Blake Hartman (Terre Haute campus): Hartman, the owner of Big Inch Fabricators and Construction, remains involved with Ivy Tech through his endowment with the Parke County Community Foundation, which will fund three welding scholarships for Parke County graduates. He also helps support and fund the Rockville location through his board seat at the Rockville Parke County Learning Center.
- Joel Troxel (Valparaiso campus): Troxel was 16 years old when he dual enrolled at Ivy Tech. He is now a Certified Public Accountant and owner of JET Consulting Services, Inc., a business consulting, financial services, and technology company.
For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu/alumniawards.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College serves communities across Indiana, providing world-class education and driving economic transformation. It is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering high-value degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its communities, 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.