Kokomo couple funds classroom for new Health Professions Center
KOKOMO, Ind. – Education has always been a priority for Kokomo’s Tom and Judy Sheehan. And, for them, supporting the Kokomo Campus Transformation for Ivy Tech Community College is a logical extension of that lifelong commitment.
Tom, who retired after a 40-year career with General Motors/Delco Electronics, and wife Judy have long been supporters of scholarships for students at Ivy Tech, as well as Purdue Polytechnic Kokomo. Their most recent gift to the College is a bit of a departure from that tradition, earmarked for the funding of a large classroom just off the lobby of Ivy Tech Kokomo’s Health Professions Center currently under construction.
“We’re generally more interested in the ‘education’ part than the ‘brick-and-mortar’ part,” Tom said in a recent interview about their support of higher education, “but we understand the importance of getting the brick-and-mortar part done so one thing can lead to another.”
As Tom says, “Getting our name on that classroom door isn’t why we do it.” They’re doing it because they believe in Ivy Tech’s mission of changing lives and improving Indiana – with educational opportunities that are affordable and convenient.
“Not everybody needs a four-year college degree but they do need to get an education beyond high school,” Judy says. “We need people to do important jobs that they need training for. It’s required. It’s called survival.”
For Tom, Ivy Tech is a great, affordable way to get needed education – whether you’re looking to get training needed to go into the workforce, to earn credits to transfer on to a four-year school like his alma mater Purdue University, or to “upskill” with additional training that can lead to a promotion or a better job.
Judy, a native of Marion, Ind., was one of six children of parents who considered education “most important.” “All of us went to school,” she said. “It didn’t matter where you were going, but you WERE going to school.” For Judy, it was off to the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis and an associate degree that prepared her to be an x-ray technician.
Tom’s higher education route started with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (GMI, now known as Kettering University) before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Purdue University. That education stood him in good stead during his Delco Electronics career, which has been followed by a leadership post with Syndicate Sales in Kokomo. In 2008, he was presented with another degree – an honorary doctorate in technology from Purdue recognizing his outstanding professional career and his many contributions in time, talent and treasure to his alma mater and his community.
“We are so excited about Ivy Tech’s Kokomo transformation project,” Tom said. “Ivy Tech is turning a collection of old buildings into a beautiful, modern, connected college campus and we are happy to be part of the community support that is making it possible.”
To learn more about the project and how you can be part of it, contact Kelly Karickhoff, director of resource development for Ivy Tech Kokomo, at email@example.com or 765-252-5501.