Community pillar – Ivy Tech celebrates its regional role

Originally published Thursday, April 22, 2021 1:00 am, Journal Gazette

Meg Distler
Meg Distler, Executive Director, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw is joining #CCMonth, a monthlong grassroots education and stigma-busting campaign coordinated by the Association of Community College Trustees.

The primary goals of #CCmonth are to improve awareness of the economic, academic and equity advantages of attending community colleges, and to bust longtime stigmas wrongly associated with public two-year colleges.

Ivy Tech is absolutely vital to northeast Indiana communities and our state. We have a proven record of working with community partners to meet our students where they are and support the needs of our local workforce.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne is a world-class institution that is vital to the health and growth of northeast Indiana’s economic development.

Since 1969, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne has done this critical work in northeast Indiana, and it continues to expand its impact every year. Even during the pandemic, Ivy Tech has shown its commitment to northeast Indiana by expanding its presence in our surrounding counties.

The college has begun offering classes in Steuben and Adams counties through partnerships with the Enterprise and MERIT Centers. As part of a partnership with the DeKalb County, Ivy Tech announced plans to hold classes at a collaborative space in downtown Auburn.

Community colleges are a uniquely American educational model that was designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all people. They are the primary educators of life-saving health care professionals, critical skilled trades and manufacturing workers, and high-tech experts, among many others.

They also serve as an on ramp to bachelor’s, master’s and higher-level degrees for many students, and particularly for the most demographically and socioeconomically diverse students.

Without community colleges, many American students would not be able to access higher education at all.

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne programs support frontline positions that were so vital in the past year. Our graduates become nurses, EMTs, respiratory therapists, IT workers, educators, supply chain managers and much more.

Our programs prepare students to continue their education or find employment in the workforce directly after graduating.

“Community colleges are engines of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown. “They give opportunities to all students, and they support all students throughout their educations, whether they attend to attain an associate degree or certificate, intend to transfer on for a bachelor’s or higher degree, or they take one or a few courses to learn a new skill or expand their horizons.”

Learn more about Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw, how we connect with our community, and encourage student growth through our 2020 campus profile at

You can also support our efforts by contacting the Ivy Tech Foundation at 260-480-2010 or visiting 

Meg Distler, chair of the board of trustees of Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne & Warsaw, wrote this on behalf of the board. 

Board of Trustees

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne & Warsaw

  • Meg Distler, executive director, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation
  • Phil Metcalf, retired career and technical education director, Wawasee Community School Corp.
  • Kathy Rogers, president and CEO, KB Search Team, LLC
  • Christopher Brown, director of training, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 166 JATC
  • Alice Eshelman, proprietor,
  • Joseph Decuis
  • Jeff Hansen, vice president, human resources & safety, Steel Dynamics, Inc.
  • Chris Himsel, superintendent, Northwest Allen County Schools
  • DaVita Mitchell, student support specialist, Southwest Allen County Schools
  • Debra Faye Robbins-Williams, chief of student, family and community engagement, Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Anthony Tranquil, president and CEO, Wayne Pipe and Supply, Inc.
  • Paula Hughes-Schuh, CEO, YWCA Northeast Indiana