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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Jonathan Weinzapfel

Hometown: St. Philip, Indiana

Job: Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Evansville campus

Education: Reitz Memorial High School; bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; master’s degree in liberal arts and sciences/liberal studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis.

Resume: Public relations director, Old National Bank, 1993-1995; State Representative District 76, Indiana General Assembly, 1999-2003; attorney, Bowers Harrison LLP, 2000-2003; City of Evansville Mayor, 2004-2011; attorney of counsel, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, 2012-2014.

Family: Wife Patricia and three children, Nathaniel, Benjamin, and Eleanor.

Four years into his service as chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College Evansville campus, and Jonathan Weinzapfel now is the most senior higher education chief administrator in the city.

“Who would have thought that?” he says with a smile. “I chuckle when I think about that.”

A native of southern Indiana, Weinzapfel has spent his career in service to Evansville and the state. From his time in the general assembly to his two terms as mayor of the city, he now devotes his time working to strengthen Ivy Tech’s ability to help local businesses and students, as well as the community college’s role in the city.

“On the surface, it would seem to be obvious, but one of our challenges is making sure people understand what a community college does,” says Weinzapfel. “There are a lot of people who still simply think of us as a trade school. We are much, much more than that.”

What is the biggest difference between your former job as mayor and your current job as Ivy Tech chancellor?

Frankly, there are a lot of similarities. Ivy Tech is a public institution, funded through state appropriations and federal financial aid. Accordingly, I am accountable to the public, management of the college, students, and employers.

Similar to the position of mayor, I manage employees, fundraise, and think strategically about how Ivy Tech engages with the community. Ultimately, I work to figure out how we can best meet the needs of students and the businesses likely to employ those students or the universities where they may continue their education.

What is an average day like for you in this job?

What makes this job rewarding is that no two days are the same, yet every day I get to see the difference Ivy Tech makes in the lives of the students we serve.

Just in the past week, I have worked with Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation officials to strategize on the OptIN program and how we can best prepare high school students for area employment opportunities. I visited with economic development officials in Tell City to talk about workforce development. I also made a call on a donor to talk about investing further in Ivy Tech students.

Every day is just different.

What in your opinion is the best quality Ivy Tech provides to Evansville?

We can be very nimble in addressing the needs of our students and employers in the area.

For example, we just announced a partnership with SABIC to develop a training program and create a strategy for attracting young people into this area of employment.

It’s pretty special to work really closely with businesses and align what we offer or develop new opportunities to meet workforce needs and at the same time, create life-changing opportunities for those in our community.

What is something that you enjoy doing outside of the office?

I like to fish. I’m a big St. Louis Cardinals fan. I’ve only been to one game so far this year, but I do listen to games on the radio, or watch them on TV to the extent I can.

I also try to run and work out. Of course, Patricia and I still have three kids in high school — that is a job within in itself. But just enjoying and sharing in their experiences also is something I enjoy doing.

For more information about Ivy Tech Community College, visit ivytech.edu/evansville.

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