Growth, service mark his 20 years of leadership in Ivy Tech Kokomo Region
KOKOMO, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region Chancellor Stephen J. Daily announced Friday (July 11) he will retire from the College Jan. 15, 2015, after 20 years of leadership in the region.
Daily’s retirement will cap a career in education that began 43 years ago as an English teacher at Haworth High School and that was interrupted only for the eight years he served as mayor of the City of Kokomo. He made the announcement Friday at a meeting with Ivy Tech Kokomo Region faculty and staff.
“Retirement has been on my radar for some time,” Daily said. “At 67, I’m ready to move into a new phase of life. I can’t say I’ll actually be slowing down much. I plan to continue to be involved in the community but retirement will offer me the chance to focus on a long-time interest – organic farming. I’ll come full circle back to where I began as a youngster growing up on a Howard County family farm.”
Daily said he announced his retirement now to allow time for planning a smooth transition in leadership for the region.
Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder thanked Daily for his years of service to the College. “Steve has built a great track record of growth and community service at Ivy Tech,” Snyder said. “We look forward to having him involved in the leadership transition and then celebrating his legacy next January.”
Daily began his career with Ivy Tech in December 1995 as site director for the Logansport campus. By July 1996, he became executive dean of what was then known as Region 5 and in 2000 was named chancellor of the region that now serves six counties and has campuses and instructional sites in Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, Rochester, Tipton, and Wabash.
A hallmark of his career with the College has been making higher education more accessible for the residents of the region. Under his leadership, the region has gone from operating facilities in three communities to providing educational opportunities in seven facilities in six communities. These efforts include building a state-of-the-art campus in Logansport, opening a health sciences facility in the Inventrek building in Kokomo and extending higher education to Miami, Fulton and Tipton counties.
“Anyone who knows me knows my passions are education and public service,” Daily said. “The leadership position at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region offered me a wonderful opportunity to engage in both, putting my public service experience to use to broaden the educational and economic development possibilities for as many people as possible.”
In recent years in Kokomo, along with opening the health sciences facility in a donated corporate office building, the College has assumed management of the community’s 102,000-square-foot event center and repurposed several former manufacturing buildings near the main campus into space for the Learning Resource Center, Student Services and the School of Technology. In 2014, the region moved some of its administrative offices to the First Farmers Bank & Trust building on Kokomo’s courthouse square, becoming part of the city’s noted downtown renaissance. In the fall, one floor of the building will house Ivy Tech’s new School of Computing and Informatics.
Daily’s “build it and they will come” approach succeeded for the Logansport campus as the enrollment numbers for that campus more than doubled in three years, exceeding the five-year projection made when the doors opened in 2009. The new campus represents an investment of more than $23 million raised through local and region-wide fundraising events, government support of infrastructure improvements and corporate financial and in-kind support.
In Peru, the College was given the former Holman Elementary School for use as an instructional site, bringing higher education to Miami County. The transformation of this facility continues. In 2013, through generous donations by community supporters, the Peru Instructional site opened a new culinary arts lab offering a 16-credit-hour certificate and a variety of personal interest, non-credit courses, as well as an extension of the region’s nursing program that allows students to complete the entire program at the site.
In Rochester, Ivy Tech has partnered with Rochester School Corporation and occupies half of the corporation’s new administration building. This new facility has classrooms and computer and science lab space and provides Rochester High School students access to college classes during the school day, earning dual credit while attending with other Ivy Tech students from Fulton County.
In Wabash, Ivy Tech uses a former elementary school to bring higher education to the eastern part of the Kokomo Region while the region’s most recent site affords Tipton residents an opportunity to start their college education right in their community.
These new and expanded facilities house an impressive number of new educational opportunities for students instituted under Daily’s watch, including certificate and degree programs in Visual Communications, Paramedic Science, Public Safety, Human Services, Advanced Manufacturing, Surgical Technology, Dental Assisting, Paralegal, Criminal Justice, Library Science, Agriculture, Liberal Arts, Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, Professional Communication, Health Care Support, and Engineering Technology. The most recent additions include opening the new Culinary Arts program and transitioning the region’s Automotive Technology and Welding programs into Automotive and Welding Institutes offering fast-paced programs designed to get students into good-paying jobs in less than one year.
“I have worked with a wonderful team of faculty and staff who have pulled together to make great things happen for the people of the Kokomo Region,” Daily said. “We have enjoyed the incredible support of our communities – from state legislators and higher education officials to mayors and city councils to county councilmen and commissioners to the leaders of business and industry and hundreds of supporters who generously donated time and money. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and I know the future is full of wonderful possibilities.”
In recognition of his contributions in advancing student achievement, Daily was honored in 2006 with the Gordon Award of Distinction from Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. College presidents and campus CEOS are selected for this award on the basis of outstanding efforts in promoting the goals of the national honor society for community college students.
Prior to his career at Ivy Tech, Daily was vice chancellor for External Relations at Indiana University Kokomo and was the youngest person elected mayor of the City of Kokomo, serving two terms between 1979 and 1987. A native of Howard County, he served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968 with a tour in Vietnam. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University Kokomo and pursued doctoral studies in adult and community education at Ball State University. His role as an educator began at Kokomo’s Haworth High School where he taught English from 1971 to 1979.
Throughout his career, Daily has been an active community volunteer serving on a number of boards, task forces and commissions. Among his past and present affiliations are serving four years as neutral chair of the Labor Management Committee for the Grissom Air Force Base Realignment, chair of the Region 5 WorkOne Consortium and as a member of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Region 4 Workforce Investment Board, Region 4 Works Council, the board of the Indiana Cities and Towns Foundation, and the national Save the Rainforest Inc. Board of Directors. He has served as president of the board of St.Joseph Hospital, head of the board of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance and campaign chair for the United Way of Howard County. Among honors received for his civic service are the Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest civilian award presented by the governor of Indiana, and the Larry A. Conrad Civic Service Award from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns for outstanding individual achievement and accomplishment in local government. In September 2013, the city hall constructed during his tenure as mayor was dedicated as the Stephen J. Daily Government Center in honor of his distinguished service.