The Herald-Times

Institute will take on topics crucial to our community

H-T Editorial Board

April 7, 2011

Big-name speakers lend some star power to the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service. Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss and celebrity political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin fill those roles this year.

As important to the event, though, is a series of panel discussions that explore issues being faced by people in our community every day. These panels, along with the insightful words from the headline speakers, bring the notions of civic engagement and community service onto center stage at this annual event sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College.

All three panel discussions Friday will focus on crucial topics: jobs, education and civility.

The first two subjects are at the center of a lot of debate in this community and others.

The third deserves attention so that instead of political hyperbole and polarization, the best of both sides of the arguments might be put to good use for the benefit of the greater good.

As usual, the organizers of the O’Bannon Institute have assembled impressive panelists to discuss these issues, from leading scholars to private sector leaders to elected officials and public sector leaders.

The institute is designed to help Ivy Tech students graduate with both academic achievement and a sense of responsibility for serving their communities.

But the event is open to more than students; people from all walks of life can attend, learn and participate.

The O’Bannon Institute provides ideas, tools and motivation to those who attend about becoming engaged in their communities.

The reach it has beyond the speakers and seminars is its biggest strength and its strongest opportunity.

Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon speaks during his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003. O'Bannon died in September 2003. The O'Bannon Institute honors his legacy. (AP Photo/John Harrell)

Richard Dreyfuss PR

Mary Matalin and James Carville courtesy photo

Copyright: 2011