Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Javier Vasquez makes history, as the first Indiana University Kokomo athlete to qualify for national competition.

IU Kokomo Cross Country at Grace Lancer Invitational 2013Javier Vasquez runs at the 2013 Grace Lancer Invitational.

Vasquez, 21, earned a place in the NAIA cross country meet, set for November 23 in Lawrence, Kansas, by finishing seventh in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) meet this weekend (November 9).

"It's hard to describe the feeling I got when I knew I was going to be the first from IU Kokomo to go to a national competition," Vasquez, a business management major, said. "I've never been first to do anything before. I'm not intimidated. I just know if I push myself as hard as I did at the conference meet, I will be happy. My goal is to run my fastest time of the season at nationals."

Coach Jason VanAlstine said sending a runner to the national championships, which includes 32 teams and 97 individuals, is a big deal for a team only in its second year.

"Qualifying at least one runner for nationals was one of our biggest goals this year," he said. "We had five runners with an outside shot. On paper, Javier was one of the best runners in the conference, from early on in the season. It all depended on how he ran on this day."

Athletic Director Brandon Podgorski is excited to send an athlete to the national meet.

"Qualifying for the national championship is a big deal, and I think Javier will represent IU Kokomo well," he said. "I was at the conference championship, and I was very impressed with the effort all our runners showed. Although only one qualified, I couldn't have been prouder with how hard our runners ran, on a muddy course. Coach VanAlstine did a good job preparing them for the biggest race of the year."

Earning a place in the NAIA meet is a great accomplishment for Vasquez, especially considering he discovered his talent by accident, and nearly walked away from it after high school.

Growing up in Frankfort, he joined the track team in sixth grade, planning to be a sprinter. His coach convinced him to run the longest event in a middle school meet, the 2,400-meter race. Not only did he win, but he set a school record in doing so, and began a successful career that continued through high school. Although he had scholarship offers from big schools, Vasquez turned them down, because he did not want to run anymore.

"I chose IU Kokomo specifically because it did not have a cross country program," he said, adding that he also wanted to be close to his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and he wanted an IU degree.

However, during his freshman year, campus officials announced the addition of men's and women's cross country for the next school year.

"It drew me back in," he said. "I don't really like to run, but I keep doing it because I'm good at it. I like the product of the work, and I guess that's why I still run."

His strategy is not to think about a big race until the very last minute.

"I try to ignore the fact there is a large meet coming up until the last day," he said. "For every second I possibly can on the night before a race, I focus on what quote I am going to think about during the race, to get me through when I think I can't push any harder."

At the conference meet, his mother's voice pushed him forward.

"I could distinctly hear her yelling 'Vamos, Javier,' which means, 'Let's go, Javier," in my head," he said. "My mother hasn't seen me in a cross country race since high school, but that's what I repeated in my head. I'd love to have her there, but it just would take too much effort for her. She will be happy to see a recording."

Vasquez said he almost missed the nationals, as he was in ninth place with 400 meters to go. As he came around the turn, he heard his coach yelling at him that he had to pass the pack in front of him to claim the last spot on the all-conference team.

"He turned it on with a quarter mile to go," VanAlstine said. "That's a long sprint in a long race. Javier is a lot of talent, and a lot of heart."

The men's team finished 5th of 10 teams in the conference, and the women finished 8th of 11.

Many of his teammates plan to train with Vasquez as he prepares for the NAIA meet, and his teammate Jon Flory will travel with him as a training partner.

Vasquez said after the meet, he will take a few months off from training, and will start working towards the big goals he's set for his senior season.

"I have a lot of unfinished business," he said. "I want to win the conference meet next year. With the winning times this year, I think it is a highly achievable goal for me."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The Indiana University Kokomo Alumni Association celebrates Homecoming, by inducting its first class into the IUKAA Hall of Fame

IUKL3065-10002013 IUKAA Hall of Fame awards.

The Hall of Fame brunch, honoring Chuck Bucheri, Judy Golitko, Alex Huskey, Eva White, and John Wisler, kicks off Homecoming day activities, starting with a reception at 9 a.m., and a chicken and waffles brunch at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, November 23, in Alumni Hall. All alumni are encouraged to wear IU Kokomo or IU spirit wear for the event.

"We encourage all of our alumni to come celebrate the accomplishments of some of our most deserving graduates," said Interim Chancellor Sciame-Giesecke. "It is also a great chance to reconnect with IU Kokomo and see what's happening on campus."

The brunch also includes the alumni Hall of Fame induction. Ryan Bowman, Director of Alumni Relations, said in past years, the association honored one Distinguished Alumni Award winner during commencement. The new Hall of Fame replaces that award, and allows more deserving graduates to earn recognition. He anticipates adding between three and five new members each year.

"We have an outstanding first class, who are great representatives of IU Kokomo, and what you can do with a degree from our campus," Bowman said.

All previous Distinguished Alumni Award winners are included in the new Hall of Fame, and are invited to attend the event.

Following brunch, alumni are invited to the new IU Kokomo gym in downtown Kokomo, to cheer for the Cougar men's basketball team as they take on conference foe Point Park in the Homecoming game.

Brunch tickets are $10 each, and include a reception and brunch. Basketball tickets are $5 each. To purchase ticket for either or both events, go to

The first class of IU Kokomo Alumni Association Hall of Fame members are:

• Robert Charles "Chuck" Bucheri: Chuck Bucheri considered himself to be an IU Kokomo alumnus, because he started his college education here. At the time, it did not offer a four-year degree in business, so he completed it in Indianapolis. He served on the campus advisory board, and was a long-time supporter of IU Kokomo. He was a certified public accountant, and was a senior partner in the accounting firm of Bucheri, McCarty, and Metz in Kokomo. He was active in the local community and a generous benefactor to many causes. He passed away in May, and will be represented by his family at the induction.

• Judy Golitko: Judy worked more than 30 years as a paralegal before enrolling at IU Kokomo to fulfill her dream of being a nurse. She earned her associate degree in nursing in 2001, and then worked as a medical-surgical nurse while completing her bachelor's degree in nursing in 2003. Golitko then enrolled at IU's Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, earning her law degree in 2006 and successfully passing the Indiana Bar at age 59. She combines her nursing and law education as a disability attorney at Golitko Daly PC. She has served as a guest lecturer in the School of Nursing, and will serve as an adjunct faculty member starting in January. Golitko is currently president of the IU Kokomo Alumni Association, having served on its board more than 10 years. She received the President's Award, the highest honor given to an alumni volunteer, in 2010.

• Alex D. Huskey: Alex currently serves as chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, and is an ordained minister, serving as pastor of the New Bethany Church of God in Christ, Marion. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1983-1993. When he left active duty, he enrolled at IU Kokomo, and earned a bachelor's degree in general studies. Later, he returned to campus to earn a Master of Public Management degree in 2010. He had a distinguished career with the Marion Police Department, where he was deputy chief. In 2004, he was the first African American appointed superintendent of the Indiana Excise Police, a position he held until former Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed him to his current position with the alcohol and tobacco commission. Daniels also honored him with the Governor's Distinguished Service Medal in 2013.

• Eva White: Eva earned her undergraduate degree from IU Kokomo in 1994, and also won the outstanding humanities student award. White is now an associate professor of English at IU Kokomo, and recently was honored as one of IU's best, as winner of the Herman Frederic Lieber Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. She's also received the IU Kokomo Claude Rich Award, which is the highest honor given on campus; and twice received the IU Kokomo Trustees' Teaching Award. She also founded the campus literary magazine, From the Well House, created IU's only Irish studies minor, and redesigned the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. She has taught more than 25 different courses during her six years at IU Kokomo, both in the classroom and through online and hybrid instruction, which combines online and classroom experiences.

• John Wisler: Dr. John A. Wisler is a toxicologist certified by the American Board of Toxicology. He has more than 25 years of experience in toxicology research and drug development. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from IU Kokomo in 1978, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the IU School of Medicine in 1982. He earned a doctoral degree in toxicology from the IU School of Medicine in 1988. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Research Council at the U.S. Army Institute of Chemical Defense, Baltimore. He is scientific director in toxicology and drug safety at Amgen Pharmaceuticals, Thousand Oaks, Calif. He has worked with companies including Allergan and Procter and Gamble, and also was president of the American Board of Toxicology. He has been married 35 years to Sandra Wisler, RN, BSN, CCRN, who is also an IU Kokomo graduate. They have two children, Brandon and Megan.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Emergency Management and Continuity (IUEMC) and The Polis Center will host a public information session regarding a multi-hazard mitigation plan for the IU Kokomo campus from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, November 12, in the Main Building, Room 214.

IUEMC staff has teamed with The Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to develop a multi-hazard mitigation plan for IU Kokomo and other IU campuses as part of FEMA's Disaster-Resistant University initiative. Once the plans are completed, they will be submitted to FEMA for approval.

IUEMC and The Polis Center are interested in receiving public input on the plan. Anyone who has questions or would like to provide input should contact Ken Long, Emergency Management and Continuity, at 812-855-8941 (office), 812-272-7895 (cell) or

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Business students can gain advice and tips for beginning successful careers, at the Indiana University Kokomo Master of Business Administration Association's (M.B.A.A.) first-ever career preparation panel. The free event is set for 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 14, in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130.

Five volunteer panelists, all in successful business careers, will answer questions submitted by business students, and talk about interviews, finding a mentor, selecting a career path, and preparing a professional resumé, among other topics.

"This is a great opportunity for students to ask all the questions they have, and get answers from business executives," said Gabby VanAlstine, M.B.A.A. president. "The event will be student-centered, because we asked them to submit questions they wanted to be asked. We hope students will leave the event feeling more confident or better prepared to enter the workforce, and understand what it will take for them to get their foot in the door."

Panelists include John Sigler, Kokomo Grain; Donald Smith, First Farmer's Bank & Trust; Diana TenBrook, Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union; Travis Trott, Finish Master; and Paul Wyman, The Wyman Group, LLC.

For more information contact VanAlstine at

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.