Support for ASAP students honors Kokomo attorney, Ivy Tech instructorKOKOMO, Ind. — The late Mike Bolinger, a longtime Kokomo attorney and popular adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Campus, is being remembered through a scholarship fund aimed at helping students in the school’s new ASAP program.
“Teaching at Ivy Tech gave my husband such joy,” Lynne Bolinger said recently. “To honor his memory by establishing this scholarship is incredibly appropriate.”
ASAP, Ivy Tech Kokomo Region’s new Associate Accelerated Program, is a quicker, more affordable path to a bachelor’s degree. ASAP provides Ivy Tech students with the opportunity to earn a degree in one year instead of the traditional two-year track.
Recipients of the program’s first $500 scholarships are Hayley Ronk of Galveston and Garrett Roe of Kokomo.
“This is the first designated scholarship for our Associate Accelerated Program,” said Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region. “We are grateful to the Bolinger family for their dedication and commitment to Ivy Tech and our students.”
Bolinger, who passed away from cancer in 2013 at the age of 61, grew up in Greentown and Kokomo. He had a place in his heart for Ivy Tech students. “They are my heroes,” he said.
He graduated from Kokomo High School in 1969 and Wheaton College in Illinois in 1973. Earning his advanced degree from the Indiana University School of Law, he began a legal career based in Kokomo, taking his skills to counties around the state.
In early 2009, doctors found metastatic gallbladder cancer and Mike closed his law office.
“One of the beautiful things that happened after Mike got sick was a call from Jim Fitzgerald (chair of Ivy Tech’s Business Administration program in Kokomo) saying he needed some help and asking Mike if he would fill in as an instructor,” Lynne said. “Like Mike said at that time, ‘I can now but I don’t know how long I’ll be able to.’”
Teaching that first class in the spring semester of 2010 turned into seven semesters as a part-time instructor in both the business and paralegal programs – three and a half years of sharing his knowledge and life skills with scores of students. In 2013, Mike was honored as Ivy Tech’s adjunct professor of the year.
“God gifted Mike with more time and, when he didn’t die in six months, teaching at Ivy Tech was a new career for him,” Lynne continued with the faith and good humor that both Mike and Lynne have been known for. “That last semester, he was weak and he was sitting down a lot, but he put on his suit and plodded along and never missed a class and got to end the semester.” He died on June 14, just a month after the last class.
“Mike loved it. He loved teaching at Ivy Tech,” she said. “He had so much admiration for the students he met there, often people years out of high school, who had full-time jobs and families, who hadn’t had the kind of advantages he’d had in life. He was so impressed with how they overcame so many adversities just to get started in college and how hard they worked. The fact we can now help students attend Ivy Tech is perfect.”
Aiming the scholarship fund at ASAP students also made sense given Lynne Bolinger’s 40 years of service as a high school English teacher and her own teaching experience at Ivy Tech. The Bolingers’ daughter, Allyson, also taught at Ivy Tech in the past.
The ASAP program is open to students no older than 21 who have been nominated by their high school counselor, who have achieved a minimum high school grade point average of 2.5 with a strong attendance record, and who have a parent or guardian who agrees to provide room and board. Admitted as part of a “cohort” (a group of students going through the program together), students attend classes or enrichment activities Mondays through Fridays full-time from June of one year through May of the next year. The one-year commitment to the intensive, accelerated program is for students who are serious about their education and who want to minimize student debt.
“Successful completion of the program means they graduate with a 60-credit-hour associate degree that has a 100 percent transfer acceptance rate to Indiana’s universities and beyond, and that costs less than $8,000,” said ASAP coordinator Beth Chaney.
“Graduates can then go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in a total of three years after high school,” Chaney continued. “Completing this rigorous program will make for a smooth transition into their choice transfer university while giving them numerous transfer scholarship opportunities.”
After kicking off the program in June, the first ASAP cohort at Ivy Tech Kokomo is now starting its second term of classes as the fall semester begins.
“ASAP is a wonderful program. It’s a perfect fit,” Lynne said. “I love high school students and I will forever. As a retired high school teacher, I think, ‘What a terrific thing.’”
For more information on supporting Ivy Tech students through scholarships, contact Karickhoff, at 765-459-0561, ext. 7296, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information on the ASAP program, contact Chaney at 765-459-0561, ext. 7397, or by email at email@example.com .