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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Esters: College commencement: No sweeter reward

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Like many colleges and universities around the world, Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis recently celebrated its 2022 commencement ceremonies after two years of modified ceremonies due to COVID-19. As chancellor, I shook the hands of approximately 700 students, including 169 nursing graduates in a pinning ceremony and over 520 graduates who earned degrees in other areas. As I celebrate the end of my first year as chancellor, I have learned that there are two days that outshine all other days in this position — new student orientation and commencement.

New student orientation is so meaningful because I get to watch the faces of students who are eager to give their all but who are also a bit apprehensive about the decision. It is a wonderful time as I get to share my own personal story with them as a first-generation college graduate and to assure them that they are making one of the most important decisions of their lives.

Commencement, on the other hand, is exciting for other reasons. It is at commencement that I get to watch the faces and smiles of so many students who have worked hard to earn their degree or credential. Some are still a bit shy as they walk across the stage and pose for a photo as I present them with their diploma. Others are exuberant and can barely control the tears. For me, it is so exciting to watch each student embrace this important milestone in their own way as they celebrate the sweet reward of long hours studying. Many have achieved this goal while raising children or also maintaining part-time or full-time employment.

Are you a recent high school graduate who is trying to decide whether to pursue a college credential or degree? Maybe you are a working adult who is interested in a career change or a promotion on your job. Now is a perfect time to consider a credential or degree.

Allow me to share a few reasons why you might consider a college degree or credential and more importantly why you might consider Ivy Tech Indianapolis.

Seventy-eight percent of Ivy Tech students who graduate do so with no debt. Those who do graduate with debt have one-third the debt compared to other college graduates. One of the reasons for this is that the college is constantly searching for ways to ensure affordability and the success of our students. For example, this summer the college is offering high school students the ability to take college level courses at no cost.

Ninety-two percent of our alumni say that they would choose Ivy Tech again. I think that speaks favorably about their experience with the college as students.

Ivy Tech graduates are 21% more likely to have jobs waiting after graduation as compared to all other colleges.

Not only is Ivy Tech an affordable choice, but it is the perfect pathway to high-wage, high-demand employment or a strong foundation for transfer to a four-year institution. There are many degree and credential programs that lead to well-paying careers. For example, did you know that Ivy Tech is the No. 1 producer of nurses in the nation? The college produces 1,300 completions annually in nursing and recently decided to pursue increasing this to 1,900 completions annually over the next several years. Nursing is also a perfect way to make a difference in our community.

Ivy Tech Indianapolis also offers degrees in information technology and other key in-demand employment areas such as automotive technology. Through a partnership with Toyota and GM, students at the Indianapolis campus can graduate earning between $45,000 and $70,000 per year and can earn more than $100,000 after a year on the job. There are other degrees where graduates earn great salaries, but what is more important is that the college has strong partnerships with employers who provide work and learn experiences for students while enrolled such as the partnership with OneAmerica, Allison Transmission, Lilly Corporation and many others. Consider, for example, James Radford. He is a member of the Ivy Tech Indianapolis class of 2022. He participated in an apprenticeship with Lilly Corporation while enrolled as a student and will start working at Lilly in a few weeks as a full-time employee.

Whether you are a recent high school graduate or you have been in the workforce for a while, consider the great choice that is Ivy Tech Indianapolis. We can help you find and stay on the path to commencement so that you too can experience the sweet reward of a wise decision. I hope to meet you soon as a future Ivy Tech Indianapolis graduate. Contact us today at ivytech.edu.

Lorenzo L. Esters is chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis.

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