Ivy Tech Kokomo holds three ceremonies for Class of 2024

Written on 05/13/2024

More than 1,400 degrees and certificates earned by 1,029 graduates

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Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Service Area – which includes campuses and instructional sites in Kokomo, Logansport, and Peru – celebrated the Class of 2024 with three commencement ceremonies on May 10. The events, divided by schools, honored 1,029 students who are expected to have completed work on 1,430 degrees and certificates by the end of the Fall 2023 and Spring and Summer 2024 terms.

All three ceremonies were in Hingst Hall in the Health Professions Center on the Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus at 1815 E. Morgan St.

Dr. Ethan Heicher, chancellor of the Ivy Tech Kokomo Service Area, extended his congratulations to the graduates for their many achievements and thanked those who supported them. He also led the graduates and the audience of family and friends in a moment of silence in memory of treasured Ivy Tech Kokomo colleague Kim King, a long-time educator and administrator at the College who passed away last September.

“In her many roles, Kim King accomplished so much good on campus,” Heicher said. “Kim led by example, and as the College grew and changed, her dedication and care set the pattern for how so many of us go about the work we do.”

Vicki Byrd

Vicki Byrd of Logansport, a two-term member of the Ivy Tech Kokomo Board of Trustees who recently retired after 17 years as vice president of planning and development at Logansport Memorial Hospital, was named recipient of the honorary Associate of Science in College and Community Service for her many contributions to the local community as well as the College.

Heicher cited Byrd’s decades of service to the local community as well as her contributions to the College in announcing the award.

“When I think of Vicki Byrd, I think of a stream of positive attributes – careful, attentive, knowledgeable, thoughtful … and extremely connected to her community,” Heicher said. “I can’t go to any meeting in Cass County or Logansport without seeing Vicki there. She is that big of a contributor, that important an advocate for her community.”

Heicher noted that in Vicki’s two terms as a member of the Ivy Tech Kokomo Board of Trustees representing healthcare, she was instrumental in the expansion of healthcare opportunities offered by Ivy Tech in the Cass County area.

“Whether it’s the creation of K-14 pre-healthcare pathways in high schools, including Lewis Cass and Winamac, or the expansion of the Nursing program on the Logansport campus,” he said, “Vicki with her role as a trustee and her role at the hospital has provided Ivy Tech leaders with advice and direction needed to meet community needs.

“What I value is her extensive understanding of the who, what, when, and why of community growth. She’s been a valuable asset to much of the work connected to the growth of our communities, especially in the manufacturing spaces of Logansport, Kokomo, and Peru.”

Iza Gould

Graduating student Iza Gould of Kokomo, who earned an Associate of Science degree in Secondary Education, was honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence. Nikki Nordman of Peru, a Realtor and owner of Pizza Quik restaurant who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration from Ivy Tech Kokomo in 2007, was recognized as Ivy Tech Kokomo’s 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award winner.

Nikki Nordman

Gould, who graduated from the online public Indiana Connections Academy in 2020, came to Ivy Tech to begin her higher education journey to become a high school teacher. Her goal of teaching Family and Consumer Sciences quickly, and unexpectedly, moved in another direction.

Self-described as a better-than-average student in high school, biology was one subject where she really struggled. That changed at Ivy Tech, she said, when she found support and great instructors, especially Biology professor Dr. Alexander Bobbs and Tara Kaser, program chair for Education.

It was Dr. Bobbs, with his ability to simplify lessons so students can understand them, who instilled in Gould a passion for teaching the subject. It was Professor Kaser who modeled compassion and dedication to helping all her students succeed.

In nominating Gould for the award, Kaser described her as a student who holds herself to extremely high standards – “a good friend, a good student, and a good person.” She continued, “The fact that Iza has a 4.0 GPA in a secondary education Biology degree is a testament to her hard work. This degree is amazingly intense with extremely hard classes.”

Bobbs noted that Gould has already started teaching. “Iza was frequently a soft-spoken leader in class,” he said, “often helping other students handle the difficult material that comes with biology class.”

Gould says she was “absolutely prepared” when she moved to Indiana University Kokomo in January to pursue her bachelor's degree. She offers this advice to students: “If you’re struggling in your class, you should definitely look for a tutor. My tutor (Scott Firebaugh) really saved me.”

Richard Ravas Jr.

Three faculty members were recognized for their contributions to student academic success. They are Richard Ravas Jr., assistant professor of Industrial Technology, Advanced Automation & Robotics Technology, Smart Manufacturing & Digital Integration, and Engineering Technology, recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction for full-time faculty; Kathy Mote of Kokomo, instructor in Health Sciences, recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction for adjunct faculty; and Jacob Turner of Kokomo, an Industrial Technology teacher at Western High School and an adjunct instructor in Advanced Manufacturing at Ivy Tech Kokomo, recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Dual Credit Instruction.

Lesly Avila

Three members of the Class of 2024 were selected as student speakers, one for each ceremony. These include Lesly Avila of Logansport, who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology; Corinth Oglesby of Kokomo, who earned an Associate of Science degree in Business Administration; and Tyler Campbell of Winamac, who earned an Associate of Science degree in Nursing.

Corinth Oglesby

Dean’s Awards honor students who are selected by the faculty chair for each program as the program’s outstanding graduate. Recipients of the Dean’s Award for 2024, and hometowns, are:

Accounting - Brenda Rodriguez-Serrano, Logansport

Agriculture - Shayla Ringen, Winamac

Automotive Technology - Juan Valencia, Logansport

Biology TSAP - Macey Lam, Kokomo

Building Construction Management - Rosalba Guerra-Long, Marion

Business Administration - Corey Arthur, Sims

Business Operations, Applications, and Technology - Arlena Murphy, Westfield

Dental Assisting - Breana Darlin, Kokomo

Early Childhood Education - Jayla Kremer, Greentown

Elementary Education - Mia Markert, Russiaville

Electrical Specialist - Gabriel Short, Kokomo

General Studies - Jayce Snyder, Logansport

Human Services - Morgan Odom, Kokomo

Liberal Arts - Wyatt Row, Marion

Medical Assisting - Shelby Jackson, Kokomo

Nursing - Peyton Pasquarosa, Logansport

Practical Nursing - Stephany Harris, Kokomo

Professional Communication - Achaham Henoch Kanate, Kokomo

Psychology - Hanayah Day, Greentown

Secondary Education - Iza Gould, Kokomo

Surgical Technology - Abigail Forkner, Kokomo

Visual Communication - Connor Bryant, Noblesville

Those recognized with Military Veterans Honors include Dustin L. Atwell, Arieon K. Burns, Payton Bryant, Nathan D. Casler, Joel A. Contreras, Taylor J. Gatliff, Jordan Garibaldi, Alicia James, Mark D. McNew, Brandon Medley, Rachel Northam, Joe Schroeder, Abigail Webber, Michael Wheeler and Amber Winchester.

Students honored as graduates of the Ivy Tech Community College Student Leadership Academy include Alissha Harlow, Jshanien Minor, Simon Daniel Murray Sr. and Seth Sorrell.

Students named to the National Society of Leadership and Success include Ashleigh Nicole Chelf, Halynn DeHart, Amanda Dulin, Nikita Gee, Michael Kevin Hewitt, Ian David Hook, Cameron Johnson, Brittany Gabrielle Lappin, Grace Meadors, Simon Daniel Murray Sr., Amelia Nungester, Corinth Oglesby, Seth Sorrell, Brooklynn Tobin and Angela Vest.