Eleven years and 11 days ago, John Hogan embarked on a mission to lead the Columbus/Franklin region of Ivy Tech Community College.
On Thursday morning, the chancellor said farewell to the campus he has helped grow during that time.
Hogan has been appointed the community college system’s new associate vice president for student affairs and placement, a position that will allow him to help better align degree offerings with the job market.
The reception conducted in his honor — attended by dozens of friends and colleagues in the community and at the college — was more about thank-yous than farewells.
“It has been the highlight of my professional life to have served you as chancellor,” Hogan told the crowd.
Someone told the chancellor early in his career to always keep his own score — and he has.
The regional campus has grown by more than 6,000 students since Hogan arrived in 2003, and annual contributions grew by a million dollars.
“But I don’t teach the classes or turn on the lights or sign the leases,” he said.
“What is a chancellor for anyway?” he added for laughs.
Hogan thanked the faculty who teach the classes and the regional and state boards, his IUPUC counterparts, his Cabinet and the students. He said he regretted not thanking them more often. There were no regrets from Barb Garton, who served for 24 years as chairwoman of the Columbus Region Board of Trustees and played a role in hiring Hogan as chancellor.
“He’s fantastic and very genuine,” she said. “He thought very little about himself and more about the students. It was very obvious from the beginning where his heart has been.”
Barb’s husband, Bob Garton, commended Hogan’s leadership. Bob Garton, who served as vice president of professional development at Ivy Tech from 1996-2011, also played a significant role in establishing the Columbus campus. As Indiana State Senate president pro tem for 26 years, he secured funding for buildings and lab equipment.
But the success at Ivy Tech is more about student growth than physical growth, and he attributes that to Hogan’s leadership.
“He leaves a legacy of leadership,” Garton said. “That’s evidenced by all measures, the number of students, the number degrees, the employment growth.”
That legacy will be hard to follow, Barb Garton said.
“We certainly want to support the new chancellor,” she said. “But John is leaving a void; he’s someone with the students in mind.”
Steven Combs, vice chancellor of academic affairs for the region, will be taking over in the interim, but Ivy Tech has yet to appoint a new chancellor to serve as a leader for a new extended region that also will include the Southeast locations of Batesville, Lawrenceburg and Madison.
As for Hogan, he still plans to reside in Columbus and remain active in the community. But beyond that?
“I really don’t know what I’m most looking forward to,” he said. “I’ll wait to see what God has in store for me.”