Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Steve Vas is now an expert on Turkey. After spending eight days there, visiting businesses, meeting people, and making connections, he received first-hand experiences that couldn't happen in the classroom.

TurkeyMary Harlan meets locals while experiencing the culture in Turkey. See more photos."It's one thing to read about business in a textbook, but we got a sense of how the principles we learn are applied in real life," said Vas, who traveled with students from the Indiana University Kokomo School of Business. "It gives you a third dimension to your education, plus it's a lot of fun. This was an opportunity I wouldn't get in most places."

Vas, along with 17 other students and two faculty members, also witnessed history while in Istanbul, as anti-government protests broke out during their final days in the city.

It started as a protest against planned redevelopment of Taksim Gezi Park, and grew, as participants began expressing concerns about increasingly religious overtones of new laws. Turkey has traditionally been a secular state.

"It became a protest about protecting the separation between church and state," Vas said. "They are defending their democracy. It was kind of exciting to witness it in person."

Linda Ficht, associate professor of business law, planned the trip, and was worried the unrest would ruin it. She canceled their free time in the city, keeping everyone at their hotel, as a precaution.

"We were catty corner to the park, and could watch the protests from a safe vantage point," she said. "We were able to see a revolution in the making, civil rights in the making. The students were excited about it."

Before the protests, students spent seven days visiting American and Turkish-owned businesses, meeting IU alumni, and touring cultural sites in Turkey. Ficht's goal in planning the trip was for students to get out of the classroom and meet real people in another country.

"The lens you view business with changes once you go abroad," she said. "It is important to see first-hand what is happening in other countries. When you immerse yourself, you see it up close. You talk to the people, you deal with the currency exchange rate, and you live it. It takes what you are learning from theory to real experience. You can't read that personal experience in a textbook."

They visited American companies, including Starbucks, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Disney, and also met with representatives of domestically owned businesses.

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) student Gabby VanAlstine, from Noblesville, was interested to learn from one female business leader that while only 20 percent of Turkey's women are in the workforce, about 65 percent of the country's top executives are women.

"I loved Turkey, but that made me even admire it more," she said. "They've recognized the value of women in the workplace."

She believes foreign study is an important part of business education, and said Turkey was an excellent choice for the School of Business' first-ever overseas trip.

"Turkey is quickly becoming a global force economically," she said. "Any time you go to a foreign country, it changes your life. It takes you out of everything you know, and everything you are used to, and makes you realize there is a whole other world out there."

Talal Al Hammad, an M.B.A. student from Saudi Arabia, has been to Turkey many times, as it is a favorite vacation destination in his country. He said, though, it was a different experience visiting businesses rather than being a tourist. He appreciated people taking time to talk to students about their companies, and how they've succeeded.

"This trip covered so many of the topics we study in our classes, like production, brand name, business law, marketing, and international business," he said. "This trip took us beyond the academic courses. We met actual business people and learned how they are facing real problems on the ground, and what they are doing to solve those problems."

An unexpected benefit of the trip was that the Saudi and American students forged closer ties, he said.

"Before, maybe we were shy about interacting with them," he said. "Now we are all networking, we're all Facebook friends, we text each other, and we call each other. We've been there, but seeing it through American eyes, it was really exciting for us. We learned we share the same values, but because we live in different places, we share those values in different ways. This trip changed something between us, in a good way."

He owns a business in Saudi Arabia, and was pleased to make contacts on the trip that will be useful to him when he earns his degree and returns home. He especially appreciated meeting members of the IU Alumni Association in Turkey.

"They all have experience in many sectors, and some of them want to explore the Saudi market," he said. "Now we will have IU in common to make those connections."

In addition to meeting business executives, Vas, a senior from Kokomo, enjoyed learning more about Turkey's culture, especially how eastern and western ideas connect in Istanbul.

"It's the only city where you will see a women in a burqa walking next to a woman in a mini skirt," he said. "It's the most western country in the east, and the most eastern country in the west. "

Ficht hopes to return to Turkey with students in the future. She is just starting to plan a trip to Prague, Czech Republic, in 2015. Her own trip to Prague while she was an M.B.A. student made her a strong believer in overseas study.

"If you go, and you participate as a student, not a tourist, you will be changed by the experience," she said. "Once you get home, and you start to think about what you saw and what you did, that's when the transformation happens."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo will be closed for the July 4 holiday this Thursday.

Classes resume on their regular schedule on Friday, July 5. Offices open at 8 a.m.

The bookstore, the Cougar Country Café, and the IU Kokomo Library also will be closed Thursday.

Online and electronic resources are available when the library is closed, at

Fireworks shows will be available July 4 in many communities in north central Indiana, including: Carmel, Cicero, Fishers, Flora, Frankfort, Gas City, Greentown, Logansport, Marion, Noblesville, North Manchester, Sheridan, Walton, and Westfield, and West Lafayette. The Kokomo Haynes Apperson Festival fireworks are Saturday, July 6. See for the latest updates on fireworks shows.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo's Main Building is temporarily closed for electrical renovations.

Main BuildingMain BuildingAll offices and classes housed there have moved to other locations on campus. A directory is available at the Welcome Center, in Alumni Hall.

Renovations are expected to last approximately three weeks.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo is bringing a hometown flavor to its Cougar Country Café.

Rozzi’sJennifer & Jo Ann RozziKokomo-based Rozzi's Catering will be the campus food service provider starting July 1, offering daily service in the Kelley Student Center Commons, in addition to catering campus events.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke is happy to partner with Rozzi's, a local family-owned business, to bring their popular food to campus.

"We are pleased to bring this local business to our campus," she said. "This will enhance our food service and our students' experience here. Not only will Rozzi's offer great food, but they want to make the Cougar Country Café a cool place where students will want to spend time."

Jennifer Rozzi, co-owner and vice president, plans to bring the company's famous lasagna, signature sandwiches, and other favorites to campus, along with more hot foods, and vegetarian and vegan options.

"We are going to reflect the campus community and what they've been asking for," she said. "We want the Cougar Country Café to be that mom and pop store, the local hometown restaurant everyone gathers at. We are all about being part of the family, and feeding people, and gathering around food."

She anticipates offering pasta, omelet, or waffle stations from time to time, and using locally produced foods.

Rozzi's ties to campus go back many years. She and her sister, JoAnn Rozzi, who is co-owner and the executive chef, decided to purchase the Continental Ballroom with assistance from IU Kokomo Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) students. The students analyzed all the opportunities they were considering, and advised that purchasing the ballroom was the best choice. The students performed a marketing and promotion analysis, reviewed finances, and analyzed what the competition was doing. The Rozzis took their final report to the bank, where it helped gain approval for the purchase.

"It seems like we are coming full circle," Jennifer Rozzi said. "IU Kokomo partnered with us to expand our business before, and now we are part of the campus family, growing with them."

Rozzi's will continue to operate the Continental Ballroom and its catering business.

The Cougar Country Café will close from July 1 until its grand re-opening Tuesday, July 9.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.