INDIANAPOLIS - The chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana Region says a record donation is helping drive the institution's most ambitious fundraising effort closer to completion. The school is launching the public phase of the $22 million "Closing the Achievement Gap" campaign, which it says is nearly 70 percent complete. Kathleen Lee says the campaign goes to "the heart of our mission," which is work force development and student success. A signature project will be the new Mike & Sandy Jarvis Automotive Technology Training Center, fueled by Ivy Tech's largest individual contribution ever, a $5 million gift.

Lee will join Executive Director of Development Thomas Kilian this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television.

The fundraising is focusing on six initiatives it says are critical and will go to areas that "can make the greatest difference," including:

  • Expanding the Associate Accelerated Program
  • Funding of "wraparound" student support services
  • Establishment a beverage management lab and addressing additional needs of the Hospitality Administration program
  • Funding scholarships
  • Increasing access by better aligning the Marion, Hamilton, Hancock, Putnam, Shelby, Johnson, Morgan, Hendricks and Boone county campuses with community needs
  • Launching what it says will be a world-class automotive technology training center

The silent portion of the campaign began in 2014 and has since secured $15.4 million. Executive Director of Development Thomas Kilian says "the early success we've had with this campaign is due to a highly engaged volunteer network. Led by our co-chairs Al Smith and Yvonne Perkins, each of our champions has made a significant investment of their time, talent and treasure. It has been an honor and a pleasure to orchestrate this campaign and our team is looking forward to completing the final 30 percent with the wonderful support of our campaign committee and community leadership."

Major contributors include:

  • $5 million from J. Michael Jarvis
  • $3.5 million from the estate of Wayne K. Jennings
  • $3 million from the City of Noblesville

Lee says the new automotive center will not only help students stay up-to-date with the latest technology, but it will help address the so-called soft skills that employers are seeking. "Do they know how to show up on time? Do they know how to work with a team? Can they do critical thinking? So we really hope that our curriculum and our faculty we know will attempt to address that, as well."

Ivy Tech Community College is the largest public postsecondary institution in Indiana.