Ivy Tech Community College Names Dr. Lorenzo Esters Next Indianapolis Campus Chancellor 

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College has named Dr. Lorenzo Esters as its next Indianapolis campus chancellor, effective July 1, 2021. Current chancellor Dr. Kathleen Lee announced her retirement after serving 36 years with the College. The Indianapolis chancellor position will include oversight and leadership of the College’s largest service area, including Marion, Hendricks and Boone counties.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Esters to Ivy Tech. His broad and rich experience along with his recognized leadership in higher education makes him ideal to serve our largest and most diverse campus. We have the opportunity to reach well over one million Hoosiers in the greater Indianapolis service area,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “Dr. Esters’ work with Strada, AAC&U, ETS, and two higher education institutions gives him both an inside and outside view of the college. As a resident of Central Indiana, he has deep ties to many Indianapolis organizations and communities. I am confident he will ‘hit the ground running’ as the Indianapolis campus has an outsized role in developing talent for the city’s growing economy and increasing the prosperity of our students, families, neighborhoods and communities.” 

“I am honored to be selected as the next chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis campus. As an Indiana resident for almost seven years now, I consider myself a Hoosier,” said Dr. Esters.  “I believe in this community and it is evident from the interview process that the students, faculty, staff, Campus Board of Trustees, and community leaders are committed to the important role that the college plays in building the pipeline of talent needed to meet the needs of our economy today and in the future.”

Dr. Esters currently serves as vice president for Advancement and Member Engagement with the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a higher education association representing more than 1,200 two- and four-year institutions located in 50 states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. Territories and 25 countries.  

Dr. Esters previously served as executive director for Higher Education Partnerships within the Global Education Division of Educational Testing Service, where he led the “Skills for a New Economy Initiative”, an effort focused on creating new solutions for workplace success by visualizing the skills, capabilities and knowledge needed to thrive in a changing economy. His professional experiences have been uniquely centered on generating philanthropic and institutional capacity to support student access, completion, and career readiness efforts, particularly for those from marginalized backgrounds. 

“Education and the ability to use the skills I have acquired through an education on the job was my pathway out of poverty and into a meaningful life and career. That is the power of what Ivy Tech does for students with faculty as the facilitators of teaching and learning,” said Dr. Esters. “I look forward to partnering with our internal and external communities to build on the great work already underway at the college. With students and community at the center of everything that we do, we will collaborate with our K-12 and four-year institutions, build innovative industry partnerships, and leverage relationships with community organizations to assure a strong education-to-work ecosystem for our communities.”

His prior experiences also include serving as vice president for Philanthropy at Strada Education Network, a nonprofit corporation located in Indianapolis, Ind. At Strada, he supported innovative student success and career development efforts nationally focused on faculty development, diversity, equity and inclusion and teaching and learning. He also was the inaugural vice president for Student Success and Enrollment Management at Kentucky State University where he managed the co-curricular and holistic development of students. There, he led efforts that resulted in increased student enrollment and retention, and built partnerships with businesses such as Toyota Corporation that provided paid internship, mentorship, and job opportunities for students.

Dr. Esters served as vice president for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ (APLU) Office for Access. Demonstrative of his entrepreneurial leadership skills, he has developed partnerships between higher education institutions and private and federal agencies, and with institutions internationally in an effort to build student recruitment, study abroad, and research capacity. He has managed a portfolio of over $17 million in grants to higher education institutions nationally and has secured over $3 million in funding, including to support the development of the APLU Minority Male Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative, an effort designed to incentivize partnerships between two- and four-year institutions toward increasing the numbers of minority males who pursue STEM careers.

Prior to his arrival at APLU, he served as senior advisor to the President of Dillard University in New Orleans, La. He has over ten years of experience as a career federal employee including serving as management and program analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Esters’ scholarly publications examine entrepreneurial leadership in community colleges, equity, access, and completion in higher education. He has served as adjunct professor of English at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., and at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. He is the former vice chair of the Board of Trustees at Northern Virginia Community College and has served on the Board of Directors for Democracy Federal Credit Union. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Martin University located in Indianapolis, Ind. 

Dr. Esters earned his undergraduate degree in English literature from Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. He earned his MA in English from Jackson State University and holds a doctorate in Higher Education Administration/Community College Leadership from Morgan State University. He is the grandson of sharecroppers from the Mississippi Delta and is the first person in his family to graduate from college.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a Bachelor’s degree. 

Larry and Judy Garatoni Invest $2.5 million in South Bend-Elkhart Region with Major Gift to Ivy Tech Community College

SOUTH BEND — The Ivy Tech Community College South Bend-Elkhart Campus has received a $2.5 million donation from Larry and Judy Garatoni to enable facility renovations, training equipment purchases and student scholarships.

Larry Garatoni shared, “It is important to recognize and support the great work that Ivy Tech is doing now to prepare our region for the future. We are very fortunate to have great leadership and an excellent and dedicated staff at our South Bend and Elkhart campus locations.  I strongly encourage others to engage with and contribute to Ivy Tech and invest in the future of our great region.” 

The gift will enhance the facilities that support student services at the College’s South Bend location.  It will also support state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing and information technology training at the campus’ “Center for Advanced manufacturing and Automation” which is scheduled to open this fall at the College’s Elkhart location. The new 10,400 square foot, stand-alone structure, will allow Ivy Tech to support the needs of regional manufacturers in the fields of Automation/Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

“Larry and Judy’s gift will help transform both locations of our South Bend-Elkhart campus” said Ivy Tech’s South Bend Elkhart Chancellor David Balkin. “The Garatoni family understands that a career-focused education is the best pathway that many students have for a successful life.”

“We are grateful to Larry and Judy for this generous gift that will continue to help us fulfill our mission to the State of Indiana.  It will ensure the South Bend-Elkhart facilities are ‘student ready’ and that our graduates are ‘workforce ready’,” shared Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann.


About Ivy Tech Community College South Bend – Elkhart

The South Bend-Elkhart campus serves students and employers in St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties from locations in South Bend and Elkhart County. The campus annually serves full- and part-time students through its academic programs with more than 3,000 employees and citizens. Ivy Tech Community College offers traditional courses in the classroom setting and distance learning (online) opportunities. Many of our courses, degrees and certificates transfer to four-year institutions. Learn more about Ivy Tech Community College at IvyTech.edu.

Ivy Tech awarded $85,000 federal grant to offer free CDL training, increase road safety

WEST CENTRAL INDIANA – The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has awarded Ivy Tech Community College a Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) Grant, in the amount of $85,071, to offer free CDL-A training to West Central Indiana residents. The grant is intended to increase road safety and reduce crashes involving commercial motor vehicles on U.S. roads. Ivy Tech Community College is one of 20 educational institutions nationwide to be awarded a Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) grant for the 2020 fiscal year. 

Grant funding will cover 100% of CDL-A training costs, permit and license costs for 20 individuals. 

Residents of Clay, Greene, Knox, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties are eligible to apply for training. Current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including National Guard and Reservists, their spouses and children, will be prioritized for consideration.

“Ivy Tech is fortunate to receive a grant that will allow us to provide free job training, while also increasing road safety in West Central Indiana,” said Lea Anne Crooks, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Terre Haute. “The Terre Haute campus is well-positioned to offer this opportunity to military members, with six military installations within a 10-mile radius of campus. We plan to work closely with these organizations and our partners in workforce development to identify those in our community who will benefit from free training in one of Indiana’s most in-demand careers.” 

Training will be provided by Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute and the Driving Dynamics Center for Transportation Safety program. Students will complete four weeks of full-time training, and 30-40 hours of one-on-one driving instruction at the Terre Haute campus. In addition, Ivy Tech will assist graduates with securing employment through its premier network of hiring companies, including national carriers, regional, and local trucking companies.

According to the 2016 Indiana Employment Outlook Projections study conducted by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and STATS Indiana, the number of occupations requiring a CDL is anticipated to increase by 6.6% by 2026. In West Central Indiana, Commercial vehicle drivers are calculated as a five flame career, the highest-rank provided by the INDemand Jobs Indiana Flame Ranking system. In addition, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24,861 heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are projected to leave the occupation between 2016-2026.

The application for the free CDL-A training is now open at link.ivytech.edu/cdl. Questions can be directed to Sarah Seaton at sthomas154@ivytech.edu or 812-298-2482, or Rod Dowell at rdowell3@ivytech.edu or 812-298-2492.

About Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training grant program awards grants to a variety of educational institutions that provide commercial truck and bus driving training, including accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments, including federally recognized Native American tribal governments. A full listing of fiscal year 2020 grant recipients can be found at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/fiscal-year-2020-commercial-motor-vehicle-operator-safety-training-grant-awards

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.