Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo dedicates the new Milt and Jean Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center in a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 18, in Kresge Auditorium.

IUKL0133Jaclyn Kreps tests out the new Cole Fitness Center.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie will preside over the ceremony, honoring Milt and Jean Cole and their family, for their $1.25 million gift to the campus. There will be a reception and tours of the facility immediately following the ceremony.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said the Cole Fitness Center has transformed the campus, providing a place to build a community and to enhance the health of students, faculty, and staff.

"We are so appreciative of the Cole family, whose generosity allowed this center to be built," she said. "The Coles have dedicated their lives to enhancing the quality of life in north central Indiana. They embody the true essence of philanthropy, which is supporting projects that will have a long-term impact on people's lives.

"This center allows us to provide a complete educational experience that is focused on the whole student, both mind and body. The impact of this facility will be felt for many years to come."

The 21,000 square-foot facility opened in August, and has been a popular addition to the campus. Fitness Center Director Brandon Podgorski said people are coming in regularly to use the jogging and walking track, weights, and cardio equipment, while the student athletes are glad to be able to train on campus.

"I hope the center is a catalyst in making the IU Kokomo community, as a whole, more fit," he said. "In my mind, that's the most important reason why it is here. I've been pleased with the participation so far, and it will only continue to grow. "

The gift from the Cole family, which also includes Keith and Carmella Cole, and Randy and Candy Cole, is the largest cash gift in IU Kokomo history. The family owns Cole Hardwood, Inc., in Logansport.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Jim Willis leaves this month for the adventure of a lifetime. He will spend the next 27 months at Republic of Macedonia as a Peace Corps volunteer, where he hopes to teach some of that country's leaders conflict resolution and organizational skills.

CC0A0964Alumnus Jim Willis

Willis, 69, graduated from Indiana University Kokomo in 1972, where he gained a foundation that prepared him for a successful career and what he expects to be an unforgettable journey.

"The values I learned from the liberal studies program are values I'm fully coming to appreciate," Willis said. "IU Kokomo was small enough to give me a sense of community with the faculty and students. Chancellor Victor Bogle's vision made it a special place to be, and it gave me a clear set of values that could be trusted in the greater world."

Willis will spend 27 months in Macedonia, which was formerly part of Yugoslavia. It is on the central Balkan Peninsula, in southeastern Europe. He will spend the first two months learning the language, culture, and history, before being deployed to his work site. He anticipates working with a non-governmental organization, teaching them skills they need as they petition for the country to become part of the European Union.

"I couldn't be happier with the location or assignment," he said, adding that he will definitely be among the older volunteers. "Most of them are in the 20s and 30s. I'm old enough to remember when President Kennedy started this program."

He added, though, that he is still younger than Lillian Carter, mother of former President Jimmy Carter, who joined in her 80s.

Willis has fond memories of his days as an IU Kokomo student. He moved to Kokomo after graduating from high school in Logansport, and worked at Continental Steel and JC Penney, among other jobs. He studied sciences on the Seiberling Mansion campus.

"I was a poor kid who wanted to go to school," he said. "Looking back, it's romantic, but it was hard at the time."

He attended from 1962 to 1966, and then transferred to Bloomington to complete his degree. However, shortly after, he received his draft notice and could not get a student deferment since he had been in school four years without earning a degree.

He enlisted in the Army to study ground air missile defense, and was sent to Germany – a NATO missile site.

When he returned to IU Kokomo, the campus had moved to its current location on South Washington Street.

After earning his bachelor's degree in liberal studies, he worked in human relations, staff development, and other jobs that involved helping people improve themselves and their skills. Along the way, he earned a Master of Public Affairs degree at IU South Bend, and later a Ph.D. in communication from Purdue University.

He later became interested in Gestalt Counseling Theory, which focuses on here-and-now experiences and personal responsibility. It's objective is to free people from unfinished issues that may impact their lives, and relies on a long relationship between the client and therapist. He trained at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, and later used it as the basis of his doctoral dissertation.

He looks forward to additional training at the Gestalt Institute in Skopje while he is in Macedonia, and to sightseeing.

"Macedonia has possibly two of the oldest lakes in the world, that are designated a world heritage site," he said. "Skopje, the capital was the cultural center of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. It's just going to be a smorgasbord of history and culture."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke announces the appointment of Polly Boruff-Jones as Dean of the Library. She began her position Monday, September 9.

Polly Boruff-JonesPolly Boruff-Jones

Boruff-Jones most recently was director of library and information services at F.W. Olin Library, Drury University, Springfield, Mo., where she also served as director of academic computing. She previously was associate dean for learning, teaching, and research at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis.

As dean of the library, she will lead all areas of library administration and operation.

"I am excited to welcome Polly to our campus," Sciame-Giesecke said. "She comes to us with IU experience from her years as a librarian and associate dean at IUPUI. She is committed to making the library the center for learning on campus. I know under her leadership, we will see new initiatives that will help our library grow and expand its services."

Boruff-Jones, 56, is eager to work with library staff to support the campus' learning and teaching mission.

"I'm most looking forward to working with the librarians, faculty, staff, and campus administration to explore opportunities for innovation in the library," she said. "The library is instrumental in supporting our students and faculty in their learning and research."

Boruff-Jones earned a bachelor's degree in political science and environmental science, a Master of Library Science, and a Master of Public Affairs in nonprofit management, all from Indiana University.

She and her husband, Rick Jones, look forward to moving to the Kokomo area.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo's Student Veterans Organization will host "Meet at the Memorial Rock," a 9/11 reflection and commemoration, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 11. The event, which is open to the public, will be at the flagpole in front of the Main Building.

Memorial RockMemorial RockDoug Preece, president of the Student Veterans Organization, said the event is not political, but is just a short time of remembrance.

"I think reflection is good for the soul," he said. "It's important for people to recognize what happened in the past, and our nation's contributions by veterans. That was a significant event in our history. Everyone can remember where they were on 9/11. For those of us who are involved, it resonates a little deeper."

Preece, a reservist at Grissom Air Reserve Base, in Miami County, deployed to the Middle East on September 21, 2001, just 10 days after the terrorist attacks. He's been sent overseas several times since then, serving as a boom operator for the KC-135 Stratotankers, which provide mid-air refueling for long-range bomber, fighter, and cargo aircraft.

The mission of the Student Veterans Organization is to meet the academic and social needs of student veterans through peer support, advocacy, fellowship, and community service. It is open to current U.S. armed forces members and veterans, ROTC members, and their families. For more information, contact Preece at

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.