Indiana State University
Indiana State University sent the Class of 2017 into the world with parting words from fellow Sycamores at the winter commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 16.
There were 906 Indiana State students who applied to graduate, of which 386 undergraduates and 198 graduates signed up to participate in the commencement ceremony at Hulman Center.
Student speaker and political science major Shayla Bozdech of Effingham, Ill., offered her fellow graduates a message about sacrifices.
"Look at the world in which we live. There are many circumstances around us that might cause us to become disheartened and feel defeated. There are old problems in our world that have come back into light, and new problems that we, as the next generation of world leaders, are tasked with solving," she said. "These problems, they won’t be solved by thousands of people choosing to simply follow their dreams. That’s not how you got here today, is it? Your dream may have been to go to college, but when you look up in the audience and find the people in your support system, you can realize that you are not the product of a thousand dreams. You are the product of a thousand sacrifices."
She reminded the graduates that sacrifice for others is a message that was driven home at Indiana State.
"At Indiana State, we have learned that, if service is beneath us, then leadership is beyond us," Bozdech said. "We have been taught the importance of making an impact in our communities through service. ISU has taught us the value of making sacrifices for our neighbors, and we have seen how connected we are at our core."
Bozdech's wish for her fellow graduates was for them to "recognize the sacrifices that must be made for the good of others."
"I hope that we will always do what is right, even if it does not mean following our dreams," she said. "In turn, I hope that our dreams will turn into those of integrity, honesty, love, respect, patience, joy and peace. Because with these dreams, we can become humble servants. With these dreams, we can have hope."
Alumnus Michael Scott Jr., '10, used the opportunity as the alumni speaker to encourage his fellow Sycamores to focus the talents and skills they honed at Indiana State toward making a difference in the lives of the next generation as he did post-graduation.
Scott serves as an instructional fellow with the Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn, N.Y. - a nonprofit network of public charter schools closing the opportunity gap primarily for students of color from low-income communities in New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
"As an alumnus, it's my duty to impart wisdom or lessons that, hopefully, allows you to avoid an obstacle or two that I encountered," he said. "So, what lessons have I learned? Lesson one. Embrace difference. Expose yourself to new experiences. Meet new people. By listening to folks who you would normally shun or not gravitate toward, what you'll learn is you have far more in common than you have in contrast."
Lesson two, Scott said, is to seize the moment and live life to the fullest.
"You've got one life to live and only one chance to live it," he said. "Two weeks after I walked across this stage, my father's years among the living were cut short at the age of 53. From that pivotal moment, I committed to not live for tomorrow, but to ensure that today was the best and most fulfilled it could be. You see, when you live life to the fullest, doing what you love and what makes you happy, you thrive and spread those positive ripples to the rest of society."
For lesson three, Scott encouraged the graduates to fall forward.
"Mistakes are unavoidable. It is what you do after that alters the outcome of your next attempt," he said. "Embrace error because you will fall, but you'll get back up. When you rise, honor the reflection. Ask yourself, ‘What did I do wrong? What can I learn from this?' It is only in the reflection that the move forward happens."
Scott's final lesson was for the graduates to give by using their privilege for others.
"The idea of service is not lost on anyone in this institution. Indiana State prides itself on its servant and civic leadership, consistently top ranked in higher education for embracing the idea of service," he said. "Within this room, you have completed thousands of hours of volunteer work and your service has made this institution and society a better place. Continue to volunteer at local food banks, homeless shelters and schools. Continue toy drives for foster children, blood drives for the afflicted."
But volunteering is no longer enough, he added.
"Your degree not only makes you more likely to be employed, increases your life expectancy and you are more likely to be attentive and engaged in the national discourse. But, see, your degree also makes you more likely to vote, more likely to have a seat at the table and understand the channels for change and will allow you to earn over $1 million in additional income over the course of your life," Scott said. "To all graduates in this room, you've upgraded. As some would say, Dr. King was a drum major for justice. You must now be a drum major for the voiceless. Be an advocate for those who often go unheard, represent those who don't have access to the table of power and donate to causes of profound impact."
Scott knows of what he speaks. He has dedicated his life to working in communities where the odds are not in his students' favor.
"I advocated before the Texas state Legislature for high academic expectations coupled with assessments that did not diminish a student's joy for learning," he said. "I lobbied in Albany for the expansion of education access so more students have an opportunity to realize their greatest potential. Throughout the seven years since I left this place, I have used my voice and the education I received here for advocacy and my vote for policies and candidates that align with my passion for educational equity."
As an advocate for providing college access and opportunity for all, Scott announced a scholarship in honor of his father that will be available at Indiana State next fall to any rising junior or senior who hails from Indiana and has chosen to major in education or recreation and sport management.
In addition, because college access can be more difficult for men of color, Scott said The Michael Scott Jr. Civic Leadership Scholarship will be available next fall to two males of color who are rising sophomores, juniors or seniors with a demonstrated commitment to service and a willingness to use their privilege in service of underserved communities.
"Use your privilege for others. As you launch on a new and exciting journey in your life, I leave you with the idea of Ubuntu - I am and you are because we are,” he said. “I wish each of you immeasurable success because your success will impact the lives of generations."
Though the day was about the graduates, Indiana State President Dan Bradley, with his wife Cheri at his side, offered a few words at his 19th and final commencement ceremony as president of Indiana State.
"These ceremonies and 10 convocations for new freshmen will always stand out as highlights of our tenure," he said. "We want to thank all of you and all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters who are not here today who have, over the last nine-plus years, made ISU an incredible place to work, to learn and to play. Cheri and I have dedicated all of our energy to making it a better place and we do not regret one minute. Know that the best is yet to come."
Indiana State University
The largest state-funded project in Indiana State University’s history was unveiled to the public with the ribbon cutting of expanded the Health and Human Services facility on Dec. 15.
The ceremony in the North Gym addition was followed by tours of the facility for students, employees and the community to get a glimpse into Phase I of this $64 million, state-funded project.
The building will be ready for occupancy later this spring, followed by the start of the project’s second phase, which will include renovation of classrooms and labs in the existing Arena building that was constructed in the 1960s. Phase II of the project is expected to be completed in spring 2019.
“It is exciting to be here today to celebrate the largest capital project in our university’s history,” said Indiana State President Dan Bradley. “This new facility will provide high-tech labs and facilities to support the fast-growing College of Health and Human Services, ISU’s second largest college which services 2,700 undergraduates and nearly 750 graduate students. The faculty in the College of Health and Human Services has worked diligently to develop new degree programs that are helping address the state’s critical shortage of health care professionals.”
Bradley noted the collaborative environment the facility will create for training future health care providers from different fields to work alongside each another.
“Inter-professional education is key to improvements in health care, and we truly are at the forefront of that at Indiana State,” he said. “In addition to the impact the facility will have on our students and local and state workforce, it will dramatically transform the appearance of our campus from Third Street and create a new main entrance to Indiana State.”
Construction on the facility project began in July 2016 and includes an 87,000-square-foot expansion to house new academic programs. Major upgrades will improve temperature control and air quality in the building as well as technology. Interior space will be reconfigured to enable academic programs to function more efficiently.
“You here at Indiana State University have achieved great success and prove to the rest of the state that they, too, can achieve,” said Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “The College of Health and Human Services is a key to Indiana State University’s historic enrollment growth, and it has also been important to our state by fueling the health care workforce and providing access to health care in our state.”
It doesn’t seem all that long ago, though, supporters of Indiana State were gathering to celebrate the groundbreaking in 2016.
“We broke ground that morning as part of a kickoff to celebrate this history achievement,” said Greg Goode, Indiana State’sexecutive director for governmental relations. “At $64 million, no other project … has ever come as close to the magnitude of this type of investment. It is an investment in public higher education. It is an investment in health and wellness. An investment in this campus, in this county and in this community.”
Goode acknowledged that “designing a facility that will meet the needs of a 21st century College of Health and Human Services” was a process that could not have been accomplished without strong advocates. Goode thanked the Indiana State Board of Trustees; state Reps. Bob Heaton, Clyde Kersey and Alan Morrison; Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett; county council; the ISU Foundation and leaders with the ISU Alumni Association.
“At each step of the way, Dr. Dan Bradley articulated the vision for this facility,” Goode said. “He did so by also leveraging the very real confidence that Indiana State University has earned in this state through our commitment to enrollment growth and sound fiscal management practices.”
Indiana State aims to steer its approximately 3,400 students enrolled in the College of Health and Human Services into higher paying, high-demand health care careers with the facility, which is fitted with smart classrooms, new labs and the latest technology to facilitate learning and collaboration among disciplines needed throughout the state.
The need for such a facility was articulated Friday by College of Health and Human Services Dean Caroline Mallory. She cited data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that estimates the state annually has openings for 1,200 community and social service professionals, 600 openings for childcare workers and more than 3,000 jobs for nurses, registered nurses, LPNs, nurse practitioner, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and athletic trainers.
“This new building … is concrete evidence in the investment of the state of Indiana in the health, health and wellness and social services workforce needs of Indiana,” Mallory said. “The College of Health and Human Services is where students come to become professionals, where the faculty teaching scholarship and career-readiness, and where the public can be assured that we are using their resources to improve the quality of life for all of Indiana. Thank you to everyone who has given large and small to make this project happen. This building will produce a higher quality learning environment for our students.”
Senior health science major Shan Antony reminded the audience that pride in curriculum, faculty and staff are all integral pieces that sustain the integrity of the school, “one cannot discount the value of a sound, stimulating learning environment.” He likened the building to a college student wearing a suit — people pause and comment on the student’s attire, and the student feels more pride wearing it.
“This (facility) is a staple that moves every aspiring nurse, dietitian and health administrator to be more. To be the very best they can be,” he said. “They will see these new walls and the advanced technology in the building and unknowingly attribute value to their education, their career choice and, ultimately, their lives.”
As a physician by training, this project holds extra meaning for U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Indiana, who represents the 8th district.
“We have reached a critical shortage in the health care workforce, both in Indiana and in our nation. This shortage greatly impacts access to quality, affordable health care for all of our citizens. We must do all we can to attract and incentivize students in medical fields,” he said. “This state-of-the-art facility will be a catalyst of learning for the next generation of athletic trainers, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, health educators and all of those willing to dedicate their lives to helping others.”
Indiana State also had a strong advocate in the state Senate with Sen. Jon Ford.
“When I first announced that I was running for the Senate … my No. 1 goal was and is to be an aggressive advocate for bold ideas and initiatives to make this part of the state more competitive,” Ford said. “No one can say in Terre Haute that no one in Indianapolis pays attention to this part of the state. This $64 million state gift is an investment in this university and this community.”