Indiana University East will award an Indiana University honorary degree to James L. Steck, Chancellor Emeritus of Ivy Tech Community College Richmond during its Commencement Ceremony. The honorary degree will recognize Steck’s exceptional leadership and service to the campus and greater community.
Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Steck during the IU East Commencement Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 15, at the Richmond High School Tiernan Center.
The honorary degree, the highest academic recognition Indiana University can bestow, is awarded to individuals who demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity and sincere concern for the public good. In addition, candidates for the honorary degree generally have significant ties to the state of Indiana or to Indiana University. Through this high honor, IU seeks to recognize individuals who may serve as role models for students, faculty, alumni and the people of the state of Indiana.
Steck is chancellor emeritus of Ivy Tech Community College Richmond, a title he received upon his retirement in 2012. Steck joined Ivy Tech in 1985. Previously he held the positions of Executive Dean, Dean of Instructional Affairs, and Division Chair for Technology for the College.
IU East Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe said Steck exemplifies the highest standards of excellence that the honorary degree signifies, including for his contributions to the social, economic and cultural development of the greater Richmond region and to Indiana higher education.
“Jim transitioned the Richmond Ivy Tech campus from a technical and vocational school to a full-fledged community college. He was and continues to be one of Ivy Tech’s most highly-regarded leaders,” Cruz-Uribe said. “He is widely known for his expertise on some of the most complex issues that two-year colleges face, including student persistence and degree completion, learning outcomes assessment, community engagement, accessibility, and affordability.”
Steck is respected for the leadership role he took to address the missions of Ivy Tech, IU East and Purdue University College of Technology and how the institutions could mesh in order to create a superior educational presence for the entire eastern Indiana region through a collaborative partnership.
Ivy Tech Chancellor Steve Tincher said that Steck was instrumental in leading the transformation of Ivy Tech Richmond into a comprehensive community college and that he is well-respected in the college-wide system.
“Locally, Chancellor Emeritus Steck was a relentless advocate for improving Ivy Tech Richmond Region instructional facilities. After years of planning and an unwavering commitment to the cause, this was realized with a major capital project on the Richmond campus. Additionally a significant renovation at the Connersville Instructional site was completed,” Tincher said. “As Chancellor Emeritus Steck was my direct supervisor for over 20 years, I can personally attest to his leadership with consistent integrity, vision and accountability for excellence.
IU East Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Larry Richards said the IU East and Ivy Tech campuses are treated as a model for collaboration between two-year and four-year public institutions in the state is a testament to Steck’s insightfulness and willingness to advance their distinct missions.
“This allowed IU East to terminate its associate degrees and remedial courses well before any other four-year institution in the state did so, and in a way that benefitted both institutions,” Richards said.
As chancellor, Steck expanded programming as well as the Ivy Tech’s facilities. As Ivy Tech Richmond grew, he managed operations in leased spaces in Richmond and Connersville. With the opening of Johnson Hall in January of 2006, Steck was able to consolidate the Richmond operations onto the one campus. “I have heard it said often that this would likely not have happened if it were not for Chancellor Steck’s unwavering determination to realize his vision. The entire community, including IU East, has been the beneficiary,” Cruz-Uribe said.
While chancellor at Ivy Tech, Steck served on the IU East Board of Advisors. The board has played an integral role as IU East reached unprecedented levels of growth and success.
“Despite the many economic challenges that our region has faced, Chancellor Steck helped Richmond set higher expectations and understand the extraordinary new opportunities that exist for citizens of the region. He did this by working in partnership with others and lifting the educational horizons of the communities in eastern Indiana and western Ohio,” Cruz-Uribe said. “Now, more than ever, our state and region need graduates of our institutions, ready to transform society. Chancellor Steck took Ivy Tech to new heights in order to achieve this.”
Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder said, “Throughout his career Jim Steck has demonstrated a dedication to excellence and improving education opportunities for all our citizens, across the state, region and in his community.”
Chancellor Emeritus Steck’s wife Dianne is a retired Speech Language Pathologist from the Brookville Local Schools in Brookville, Ohio. He has two children: Erin and (Jeff) Johnson, Groton, Conn, and Jarrod and (Cassie) Steck, Charlotte, N.C. and two young grandchildren, Devin and Madelyn Johnson. Steck’s full biography is available online at iue.edu/mediarelations.