One of the founders of the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Batesville will lead the Columbus and Southeast regions as chancellor.
Chris Lowery, who has served as the director of public policy and engagement for Batesville-based Hillanbrand, Inc. for 19 years, was introduced to students, staff and community members Thursday afternoon.
Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder said Lowery was chosen as chancellor for his passion for education and his experience in economic and workforce development.
“He’s been a convener for his whole career,” he said. “That’s a talent that you just can’t give to someone, it has to be a natural ability.”
It’s an ability Snyder said will help him tackle the toughest challenges facing Ivy Tech — a lack of state funding and the need for the college to align its offerings to business needs.
Lowery pointed out that Indiana is ranked in the bottom 10 for both educational attainment and per capita income.
Ivy Tech is in a position to change that, he said.
“There are challenges and opportunities facing Indiana as leaders seek to align, engage and advance a strategic plan for transforming Indiana’s workforce,” he said, adding he was excited to help bring about that change.
Lowery said a recent reorganization of the entire system, which combined the Columbus region with the Southeast locations of Batesville, Lawrenceburg and Madison, would help with that mission.
The change was made so Ivy Tech could have a broader reach but campuses could be closer to the action, Snyder said.
“We’re doing a lot of things that are innovative in this school, in spite of the fact there are limited resources going around,” Snyder said.
Lowery said he was excited to learn of some of those innovations, like the Associate Accelerated Program which allows students to earn their and Associate of Science in Liberal Arts in just one year.
“I want to build on things already going well,” he said.
He formerly led engagement and communication efforts for Hillenbrand, while serving as a champion for education. He is board president of the Batesville Community School Corp. and founded the Batesville Community Education Foundation.
In those roles, he rallied support to fund and establish the full-scale Ivy Tech location in Batesville, which opened to students in January 2013.
Lowery also founded the Batesville Roundtable, which gathers community leaders from business, education, health care and the non-profit sector for friendships, dialogue and strategic planning.
He begins work in Columbus on Aug. 18, and he said he hopes to spend the first 100 days getting to know the campus — the students, the faculty, the programs.
“I really want to immerse myself in all things Ivy Tech,” he said.