The Ivy Tech Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor given to recognize Ivy Tech Alumni. Selected through a highly competitive process, each recipient has made a lasting impact on their community and on Ivy Tech through outstanding professional, philanthropic, or volunteer accomplishments.
Each year, up to 18 alumni from across the state are honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Distinguished Alumni Celebration.
The alumni honored at this event represent the very best of what an Ivy Tech education makes possible. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are all encouraged to submit nominations online. Learn about the criteria and selection process before you nominate.
2019-2020 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Wendy Bailey is one of those unsung everyday heroes that goes about her life not realizing how many lives she has touched. She teaches, encourages, and mentors many students, both as an educator in the Anderson Community School system and community volunteer. Wendy is also currently collaborating on a book with other fellow mentors. Her unassuming generosity is a powerful example for all who meet her.
Debra Morrow exemplifies the power of the human spirit. Her journey with Ivy Tech Bloomington began more than 15 years ago as a student in the criminal justice program.When she started her career she was a client of Middle Way House, a facility that supports survivors of domestic violence.She continued her education in criminal justice, graduating magna cum laude from Indiana State University and now directs the very agency that had provided her safety and shelter in a time of need. Debra is a passionate, powerful advocate for fellow survivors and a dedicated community partner with Ivy Tech and its students.
Kathy Covert has definitely made a positive impact on Jackson County. As the Vice President of Workforce and Organizational Development for Schneck Medical Center,she is a dedicated advocate for healthcare,education, and her community. Kathy is a tireless servant leader. Her many volunteer roles include serving on Ivy Tech Community College Columbus’ Regional Campus Board of Trustees. Kathy credits her success to her Ivy Tech education and never hesitates to provide her testimony and encouragement to current and future Ivy Tech students.
With her degree from the Evansville campus, Lynda Gamroth turned a lifelong hobby into a lucrative grassroots business bringing joy to couples and families across the Midwest with stunning photography of their special days. She faced common challenges with uncommon strength and resiliency as a young student – raising a son on her own, working multiple jobs, and even saving to buy land for a home. Lynda never wavered from her goals. She now instills that persistence and optimism in others.
Trent and Erick Ehinger, along with their father, Ed, lead 3E Industries, LLC, one of the premier lawn, landscaping, and outdoor design companies in the Fort Wayne region. After pursuing their respective degrees,these brothers went on to excel in their field, achieving a reputation for their strong work ethic and meticulous, creative designs. Their work can be spotted at several notable locations, including a landscaping and water feature installation in Bunker Hill which has been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Despite their many accomplishments, Trent and Erick remain dedicated to giving back to their community and Ivy Tech.
Karen Mangia truly seeks to make the world a better place. This commitment is evident in all she does, from her role as Vice President at Salesforce to her civic leadership with numerous local arts organizations. A published author,Karen regularly speaks nationally and internationally on her core philosophy –“Pause + Ponder + Prioritize = Success with Less.” Karen’s achievements are unusual for her age and a testament to her commitment to excellence and personal growth.
Before Ryan Wolf earned his degree from Ivy Tech Kokomo, he served in the military,completing three tours in Iraq, and worked as an independent contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He now serves as a tireless advocate for at-risk youth, veterans, and many other marginalized members of his community. Ryan is a victim advocate within the Howard County criminal justice system and is the part-time facilitator of a non-violence education program. He remains actively committed to the students of Ivy Tech as a mentor and member of the criminal justice program advisory group.
Tracey Campbell’s many achievements in the field of nursing are notable. A flight nurse with St. Vincent Hospital, Tracey also serves as a guest lecturer in forensic nursing at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Hospital.Perhaps her most impressive contributions are the many ways in which she volunteers her time. Tracey teaches CPR in schools and local fire departments, educates collegiate campuses on sexual assault and forensic nursing, and launched the Center for Hope at Home Hospital in Lafayette,providing care for survivors of sexual assault.
Jose Peralta was determined to complete his degree at Ivy Tech in Lake County despite the challenges of working a full-time job as a bus driver in Chicago and caring for his family. After five years as a part-time student, his dream became a reality. He now owns a successful catering company and food truck, providing employment to family members. Jose gives back to his campus by providing his food truck for Student Government Association events.
Alyssa Lay is an advocate for the motto “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” As Director of K-14 Initiatives and Recruitment for the Ivy Tech Lawrenceburg Campus, she is passionate about helping others rise to overcome new challenges.Presently, she volunteers with numerous organizations in Switzerland County including the Vevay American Legion Post 185 Ladies Auxiliary; the Order of the Eastern Star Bennington #407 Chapter,Soccer Association of Youth, and is an advocate for the Switzerland County Angel Tree which provides Christmas needs for the children of Switzerland County.Alyssa is also a member of Circle of Ivy, a powerful and dynamic network of women philanthropists who collectively give back to local Ivy Tech campuses and students.
As a certified fitness coach, speaker, and trainer, Stacy Crawley not only excels at setting and achieving her own goals but also motivates others to do the same. She is also actively engaged in numerous leadership roles within the community, including the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce,Women’s Giving Circle, and Madison Area Bicycle Club. “I believe people underestimate the magnitude of personal growth experienced while working towards a degree,” says Stacy. “Ivy Tech taught me many important values including accountability, discipline, financial responsibility, and project management.”
Kevin Grider inspires others with his spirit of entrepreneurship. His company, Midwest Fresh, only utilizes products produced in the Midwest, primarily from local small entrepreneurs. Additionally, he has assisted several others in launching their business and developing signature recipes. Kevin is also a voice for Ivy Tech. Whenever called upon, he readily shares his journey to success with Ivy Tech as the springboard that launched him.
After Tracy Jackson completed her degree from Ivy Tech Michigan City, she continued her education and obtained certifications within surgical services while she pursued a career as a surgical technician. She currently is a Sterile Processing Department Manager. Tracy understands the value of a strong education and has remained committed to giving back. She was an educator for students through educational clinics and serves in a variety of board leadership roles, including the campus’ Surgical Technology Advisory Board, and as a professional presenter.
Not all educational journeys start out on the right path, but Dr. Mia Johnson exemplifies the power of a new beginning.After failing out of the first four-year college she attended, Dr. Johnson found her purpose thanks to an Ivy Tech instructor. She continued her education and rose from a clerk in the Ivy Tech testing center to Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. Her journey also helped her become an outstanding educator, having won the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction in 2017. Dr. Johnson is a shining example of the possibility that exists in all Ivy Tech students.
Patrick Ripberger has worked selflessly to enhance the health and wellness of his community, both in his professional role with Reid Health and volunteer service with numerous organizations.His leadership has been invaluable to the Drug Free Wayne County Partnership,particularly when he assumed the Interim Executive Director role after the unexpected passing of his predecessor. Patrick is no stranger to hard work and serves as a role model for all who meet him.
Chris Furlow is a credit to Ivy Tech and its mission. He’s a British ex-pat with a serious desire to help others lead healthier lives. He is no stranger to challenge, as a multiple Ironman finisher and opening an Anytime Fitness in Louisville, KY. After five years in the fitness industry, Chris started Green District, a gourmet chopped salad shop. In less than two years, Chris has turned it into a franchise in five different locations. Chris regularly communicates with the School of Business program chair and promotes Ivy Tech within his community.
Radharani Buenrostro Magallon has proven time and again an unparalleled commitment to the students of Ivy Tech. Radi remains active in Phi Theta Kappa- Beta Beta Alpha, helping the chapter earn a five-star rating again this year. She continues to support the Latino Student Alliance, where she raises funds for a memorial scholarship she created.She has also spoken about the importance of a college education in several Ivy Tech commercials. Radi is actively involved in several community organizations, including Young Professionals of Goshen and Center for Healing and Hope. Most recently, she joined the South Bend – Elkhart Campus staff as the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator.
Jordan Brown has applied his Ivy Tech education in all business endeavors he and his family own and operate. Both J & N Metal Products and Hoosier Aviation were founded on the family’s love of aviation and a continued focus on improving quality jobs in the Wabash Valley. He strives to give back to the community, most recently one of 3 founding members of the Terre Haute Airshow and served on the committees, as well as other outlets, with a mindset of determined success, cooperation
and mindfulness of the desired goal.
Christine Hildebrand is a dedicated mentor, educator, and health care professional. She serves as a surgical educator for Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso and on the campus’ Surgical Technology Advisory Board. While Christine no longer works full-time on the surgical floor, she is known to “scrub in” in order to keep up with her skills knowing it makes her a better educator. She is an active servant leader who has completed medical mission trips in impoverished countries.