Ivy Tech employee, husband support Kokomo Campus transformation

Johnathan and Dani McQuaide pose by a window they donated as part of their support of Ivy Tech Kokomo and its students.

Dani and Johnathan McQuaide share love of higher education

KOKOMO, Ind. — It was higher education that brought Dani and Johnathan McQuaide together and it’s higher education that continues to be one of this energetic young couple’s greatest interests. One manifestation of their passionate commitment to the betterment of others? A generous gift, matched by Duke Energy (Johnathan’s employer), to Ivy Tech Kokomo’s Campus Transformation Project.

Dani and Johnathan understand first-hand the value of this $43 million initiative.

Dani joined Ivy Tech’s Kokomo region in the admissions office in 2010 and has been director of Student Life here since 2012. It’s a job that allows her to share her love of higher education every day.  Having grown up in tiny Lehigh, Iowa, she was the first in her family to even think about continuing her education past high school and says it probably happened because her best friend’s mother took an interest in her future and a favorite teacher gave her the encouragement she needed. She spent her first year at nearby Iowa Central Community College.

“My own experiences at Iowa Central and then at Northwest Missouri State University (NWMSU), where Johnathan and I met, are why I like working at Ivy Tech, why I’ve always been supportive,” Dani said. “I want students to know what I went through, that I understand the challenges.

“And I want to do everything I can to make Ivy Tech Kokomo better,” she continued. “The Kokomo Transformation Project is creating a real college campus where before we just had a collection of buildings. We’ll be able to develop the collegiality, the camaraderie that makes college such a special, transformational place for students.”

Johnathan is excited about the Kokomo project as well. “I think community colleges offer so much,” Johnathan said. “Affordability is so important.

“But a lot of times you look at community colleges and they seem more like an extension of high school,” he continued. “We have such a love for our alma mater, Northwest. When we pull in there, it feels like home. If you can give people that feeling, that experience … so when they leave, they are proud that they went here.”

Dani said she can’t wait for the post-pandemic time when the new quad can be used for a variety of activities and students will be able to take advantage of the walking path on the southside of the campus. It really fits in with one of the other McQuaide family interests – running; Dani serves as president of the Kokomo Roadrunners running club. With the goal of running a half-marathon in every state, Dani has so far completed races in 16 states, Johnathan in 17.

The McQuaides met at NWMSU in Maryville, Mo., when both were resident assistants. Dani jokes that Johnathan was an RA because he liked to save money and she did it because she liked to help other students. That RA job, and other work with students at Northwest, put Dani on the road to her career in higher education.

Together, they went to graduate school at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Johnathan earned a master’s degree in forestry and, having worked his way up from contract forester, now puts his education to use as lead business and technical consultant for Duke Energy’s Transmission Vegetation Management department in the six states the company serves – the Carolinas, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Dani had decided higher education meant so much to her that she wanted to spend her life sharing that with others. She completed a master’s degree in education with a specialty in college student personnel.

The McQuaides remain avidly loyal alumni of NWMSU, traveling the nine hours one-way to Maryville to hit as many Bearcat home football games as they can. They are endowing a scholarship there as well as regularly contributing to Ivy Tech scholarships and student activity funds. Their most recent donation – a significant contribution to the Kokomo Campus Transformation Project – was matched by Duke Energy and is earmarked to fund outdoor improvements that will afford students a place to exercise and commune with nature.

“We are proud to have so many Ivy Tech Kokomo employees and their families like Dani and Johnathan who are generously supporting these transformational improvements to the Kokomo Campus,” said Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area.  “And we are so grateful for employers like Duke Energy with matching programs that double their employees’ qualifying gifts.”

For more information on the capital campaign and the new Kokomo Campus, contact Karickhoff at kkarickhoff@ivytech.edu or 765-252-5501 or go to the campaign website at ivytech.edu/kokomotransformation .



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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