Lives Change for Students at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington Campus
Impact on Indiana: Ivy Tech and Our Communities is a series of profiles demonstrating how Ivy Tech Community College impacts communities across the state. The following profile spotlights the impact of Ivy Tech on students attending the Bloomington campus.
Impact on Indiana: Bruce Calloway fell in love with his family before he fell in love with Ivy Tech. But his passion for both runs deep.
First, a little about Calloway. He’s on the board of trustees of Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus. Before retiring, Bruce spent more than 30 years at Duke Energy, most recently handling government and community relations for a swath of communities in Southern Indiana. Today, he spends time telling anyone who will listen about how Ivy Tech changes lives for the better.
He’s a well-suited advocate for the College. He has two grown children – both of whom tried something else before finding a real home at Ivy Tech.
Calloway’s son, Nash, started at a large 4-year school but he ran into challenges. He eventually decided that a smaller campus with smaller class sizes — where he could receive more direct support from faculty and staff – would be a better fit to meet his goals.
His daughter, Abby, had a different experience. She attended a Division I school on an athletic scholarship, but the experience was rocky. Several years later, she was a single mom with 2 young children and knew she needed to provide a better life for her family. A traditional university experience was no longer a good fit for her.
Nash and Abby both returned to Bloomington and found a home at Ivy Tech. Today, they are thriving. Nash works in sales at an auto dealership. Abby works in radiation therapy at an Indiana hospital. And Calloway credits Ivy Tech with helping them find their passions and unlocking their potential.
“Ivy Tech is all about student success,” Calloway said. “They live it. They don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk. Neither of my kids would be in the position they are today if not for Ivy Tech.”
Impact on Education: Ivy Tech has impacted Calloway’s family, but Calloway has impacted Ivy Tech as well. In 2017 – while still at Duke Energy – Calloway partnered with Steve Bryant, executive director of the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at the Bloomington campus, to launch Duke it Out, a business pitch competition for Ivy Tech students. Each participant is given three minutes to pitch their business concepts and prizes are given out for those that are the most promising – including a $2,000 grand prize.
Duke It Out is now an essential part of the campus’s new RISE Applied Entrepreneurship program, which helps students take ideas from concept to proposal, as well as find their voice on a stage not otherwise available to them. Funding from the competition helps seed these new student-run ventures.
“Some of these students have started businesses from their pitches at the competition,” Calloway said. “The families of students show up at these competitions to cheer them on. It’s wonderful to see.
“One student said, ‘The pitch competition helped me to come out of my shell and trust my ideas in front of a crowd.’ We need to remember that for some students, it’s natural. For others, it’s a struggle. Programs like Duke it Out help students to excel.”
Impact on People: Calloway said he once fell into the trap of presuming a community college education was not as valuable as a 4-year university education. His family’s personal experience, and what he’s seen as a business leader and trustee, has changed all that.
He’s not alone. Cook Group in Bloomington supports Achieve Your Degree, an opportunity for employees to advance their education at no cost through programs at Ivy Tech. Participants earn a certificate in such programs as biotechnology, business administration, hospitality and various computing and informatics tracks. They can also continue their education by earning an Associate degree in curricula developed for Cook.
The Cook Center for Entrepreneurship also provides tools and resources for students and fosters entrepreneurship among students.
“The students are there for the right reasons – to improve their lives,” Calloway said. “They are focused on their classes and how to enhance their careers, and everyone at Ivy Tech is focused on the students.”