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Ivy Tech's O'Bannon Institute to host discussions with experts on the topics of job creation, education and civil discourse

March 31, 2011

Bloomington, Ind. – 2011 O’Bannon Institute for Community Service Panel Discussions at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will take place throughout the day on Friday, April 8 and focus on the theme “Getting Back to Basics: Jobs, Education, and Community.” The Institute event begins at 9 a.m. and discussions will focus specifically on the role of government and business in job creation, doing more with less in education, and civil discourse in communities. Panel discussions will follow welcome remarks by Former Indiana First Lady, Judy O’Bannon, and Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart.

“This is the eighth year that Ivy Tech Bloomington has gathered the community together for the O’Bannon Institute to talk about serving and strengthening our communities, and this year with such diverse panels of experts, guests are bound to hear something they agree with,” Chancellor Whikehart said.

The first panel, Making Jobs Job One, begins at 9:40 a.m. and includes Jeremiah Boyle, Managing Director of Economic Development, Community Development and Policy Studies division, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Lauren Damme, Policy Analyst, Economic Growth Program, New American Foundation; Steve Ferguson, Chairman of the Board, Cook Group, Inc.; and Greg Goodnight, Mayor of Kokomo, Ind. The discussion will be moderated by Ken Owen, Executive Director of Media Relations, DePauw University.

The second panel, Making the Grade in Education, begins at 11 a.m. and includes
Dale Chu,Assistant Superintendent for Policy, Indiana Department of Education; John Ellis, Executive Director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents; Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Programs and State Relations, Foundation for Educational Choice; Terry McDaniel, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Indiana State University; Nate Schnellenberger, President of the Indiana State Teachers Association, and Vi Simpson Indiana State Senator. The discussion will be moderated by Chuck Carney, Director of Communications and Media Relations, Indiana University School of Education.

The third panel, Making Hay in a Civil Way, begins at 1:15 p.m. and includes Fred Cate, Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity, Indiana University Maurer School of Law;
Dan Maffei, Former Member of Congress and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Third Way; Leslie Stedman Weidenbener, Indiana Statehouse Reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville; and Robert Vane, Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Mayor Greg Ballard, Former Communications Director for the Indiana Republican Party. The discussion will be moderated by Stan Jastrzebski, News Director for WFIU Public Radio.

Richard Dreyfuss, Oscar-winning actor and political and social activist will capstone the annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service with a conversation with Bob Zaltsberg, editor of The Herald-Times, on Friday, April 8 at 2:30 p.m. in the Ivy Tech Bloomington main campus student commons.

Husband and wife political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin will headline the eighth annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 7 and tickets are still available. Proceeds benefit the Ivy Tech Center for Civic Engagement.

Additionally, Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff will participate in a Day of Service in our communities on Thursday, April 7 to kick off Institute events. On Wednesday, April 6, Ivy Tech Bloomington will hold a civic engagement awards ceremony on the main campus to recognize faculty, staff and community partners for excellence in volunteerism.

The O’Bannon Institute launched eight years ago by Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus is an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss topics related to nonprofits, education and political and civic service. Previous speakers at the Institute have included former U.S. Senators, Pulitzer prize-winning authors, Governors, political advisers and columnists, and Laura W. Bush, the former First Lady of the United States.

Those interested in attending the O’Bannon Institute fundraising dinner featuring Carville and Matalin, should contact Tina Phelps, Assistant to the Chancellor, at (812) 330-6001 or to purchase their seats by Monday, April 4. Tickets are $100 per person.

Admission for Friday Institute panels and conversation at Ivy Tech is with a canned good or cash contribution for Hoosier Hills Food Bank. Reservations are requested. Contact Tina Phelps at 330-6001 to RSVP. 

O’Bannon Institute information can be found online at

Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.