Rita Jackson endows second scholarship for Ivy Tech students

Donation announced at ‘Blue Jean Ball’ fundraiser sponsored by Peru site

 In on the check presentation at Saturday night’s Blue Jean Ball were Bob Bostick, Ivy Tech student speaker; Rita Jackson; Theresa Murphy, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Peru site; Ivy Tech student Abby Ward, who also spoke about her college experience; Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Chancellor Steve Daily; and Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development.


In on the check presentation at Saturday night’s Blue Jean Ball were Bob Bostick, Ivy Tech student speaker; Rita Jackson; Theresa Murphy, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Peru site; Ivy Tech student Abby Ward, who also spoke about her college experience; Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Chancellor Steve Daily; and Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development.

PERU, Ind. — Retired Ivy Tech Community College administrator Rita Jackson presented a check for $10,000 to Ivy Tech Foundation Saturday night to endow a new scholarship fund for Ivy Tech nursing students. The presentation was made at the Milestone Event Center on the Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base during the “Blue Jean Ball,” the 2014 edition of the annual Fundraiser for Student Success sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region’s Peru Instructional Site.

The memorial scholarship fund is dedicated to Jackson’s maternal grandparents, Grace and Oliver Brunson, who lived and worked in Peru and Miami County most of their lives. Including the endowment, more than $20,000 was raised at the “Blue Jean Ball.”

Jackson said her grandfather worked on the C&O Railroad and her grandmother was a homemaker; when Oliver retired, they bought a farm north of Peru. Together they raised seven children.

“Although they did not attend college, they knew the importance of education and how it can bring hope,” Jackson said. “My grandparents were caregivers for my mother, sister and me after my father died at the age of 28 and so I wanted the scholarship to be awarded to a nursing student.”

Applicants for the Grace and Oliver Brunson Memorial Scholarship must be pursuing a degree in nursing at an Ivy Tech Kokomo Region campus with preference given to Miami County residents. They must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and must have earned at least 30 credit hours.

This is the second scholarship fund Jackson has endowed. She presented a check for $10,000 at the 2013 fundraiser to endow the Louise Jackson and Karen Jackson-Blue Memorial Scholarship Fund as a tribute to the memory of her mother and sister.

Before her retirement in 2006, Rita Jackson spent 10 years with Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region, serving as a mathematics instructor, mathematics program chair, director of general education, academic dean and executive director of technology. She remains a strong supporter of Ivy Tech, citing its affordability, convenience and scheduling flexibility, especially for working students. Ivy Tech two-year degrees can provide lifelong job skills and/or pathways to four-year colleges, she noted.

In acknowledging the significance of Jackson’s contributions to the College, Theresa Murphy, executive director of Ivy Tech’s Peru Instructional Site, said, “We are so grateful to Rita for her strong support of Ivy Tech, its mission and its students.  What a wonderful way to honor her family – by making an investment in their home community and establishing a legacy that will benefit Ivy Tech students for many years to come. “

Nearly 200 people attended the Blue Jean Ball, which included entertainment by Miami County’s own Swampwater Stompers, dinner, and an evening of competitive bidding on an array of unique items and experiences.  Proceeds from the event will support students at the Peru Instructional Site.

“Because of the continued support of the Miami County community, we are able to offer more scholarships to support Miami County students pursuing their college education at Ivy Tech Kokomo Region,” Murphy said.

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About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech 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. For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu.
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