Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area to present honorary two degrees

Rita Jackson and Joe Reed will be honored for their many contributions

KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Service Area will present honorary degrees two north central Indiana leaders – Rita Jackson of Peru and Joe Reed of Logansport – in recognition of their many contributions to the College and their communities. The honorary Associate of Science in College and Community Service degrees will be presented at the Ivy Tech Kokomo commencement set for 6:30 p.m. May 11 at the Kokomo Event & Conference Center.

“We are proud to honor these two outstanding citizens who embody the mission of Ivy Tech Community College,” said Chancellor Dean McCurdy. “Rita and Joe have helped expand the College’s impact throughout our Ivy Tech service area by leading efforts to improve facilities and provide valuable scholarship opportunities for students. They contribute directly to the success of their communities.


Rita Jackson of Peru
Honorary degree recipient

Rita Jackson:

After a successful career in management with ADP (Automatic Data Processing) in Indianapolis, New Jersey, and Miami, Jackson joined Ivy Tech as a math instructor. Over the next eight years, she served the College in several administrative roles in Kokomo and Wabash, including academic dean and executive director of technology, retiring in 2006. During that time, she gained an appreciation for the many contributions Ivy Tech makes to the community and saw first-hand the students who need and deserve financial support to further their education.

From this, her interest in giving to the Ivy Tech Foundation began and grew. McCurdy noted that since 2011, Rita has established three endowed scholarships in memory of beloved family members, helped raise funds to support Ivy Tech’s Peru instructional site, and funded a computer lab at the Kokomo Campus. She has served on the scholarship fundraiser committee in Miami County, attends all events and fundraisers throughout the Kokomo Service Area, and regularly speaks at Ivy Tech events about her scholarships and why she gives. Rita is serves on the leadership committee for the “Kokomo Campus Transformation: The Time is Now” campaign.

For her many contributions, Rita has previously been honored with the College’s “Changing Lives Award” and was named the Kokomo region’s “2014 Benefactor of Year” by the Ivy Tech Foundation. She is a member of Ivy Tech Women in Philanthropy Circle of Ivy, a state-wide women’s giving society.

Rita also is active in art and book clubs, the Women’s Democratic Group, and the Miami Community Foundation Boomerang Sisterhood. She has served as secretary of the Miami County Community Foundation and vice president of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation.

The first in her family to attend college, Rita earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue University and her CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Joe Reed of Logansport
Honorary degree recipient

Joe Reed:

Throughout their three-decade association with Ivy Tech, Reed and his wife, Barbara, have assisted the College and the Ivy Tech Foundation in many ways.

Reed has been a volunteer leader of Ivy Tech since 1981, serving as a member of the Kokomo Region Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1989, serving on an Ivy Tech presidential selection committee, and serving for 15 years as a member of the Ivy Tech Foundation Board of Directors.

His work gathering support for the College has been critical to Ivy Tech’s success in Cass County, McCurdy said. Reed was instrumental in the development of Ivy Tech’s Logansport site. He helped coordinate the gift of the 59 acres of land and, while serving as a Cass County councilman, led the effort for a $250,000 contribution from the Cass County Council.

The Reeds have also established the Reed Family Scholarship which benefits Ivy Tech students every year. They were awarded the Ivy Tech Benefactor of the Year in 2007 and received the Changing Lives Award in 2015.

Reed earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and his post-graduate education included many courses in land appraisal and management. He retired as vice president of Farmcraft Service Inc. He also has served as a member of the Cass County Plan Commission, the Logansport Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors, the Logansport/Cass Industrial Park Board of Directors, and the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors and has been an active member of Onward Christian Church.


About Ivy Tech Kokomo Service Area

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Service Area serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski and Tipton counties, including the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, Rochester, Tipton and Winamac. Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering associate degree and short-term certificate programs, and trainings that align to the needs of the community. The College also offers courses and associate degree programs that seamlessly transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor’s degree. For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu.
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