Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

April 15, 2014

A shower of praise for Ivy Tech chancellor


According to Don Heiderman, retired Ivy Tech Southeast vice chancellor, “I met Jimmy when he was doing his student teaching for Hanover College.” Heiderman was then a Madison eighth-grader. Thinking about Helms as a teacher, he chuckled, “I’ll never forget the birds and bees day.” Turning serious, the speaker observed, “His career continues to soar. Hang in there, Big Dog. Have a good retirement. We love you.”

The master of ceremonies told Helms, “Your commitment over the years to Ivy Tech and its growth have set the bar high. You have distinguished yourself, your friends, colleagues, employer and state. We will be forever grateful to you.”

Gary Moeller, Batesville, the ITCC Southeast Region board chairman, pointed out the one-time Beef and Boards organist has been a teacher, basketball and baseball coach, athletic director, guidance counselor, principal, ITCC board member and regional board chair. “He knows education and always has … He was honing his communication (and networking) skills for this job as chancellor. He had to bring ideas to people, quickly and succinctly and clearly.”

Moeller said Helms built a successful college management team and expanded degree programs. “He was the only person to be able to build a relationship with IU to bring seven bachelor programs to our area.”

The chairman admitted, “We had a lot of false starts” trying to expand in Batesville. “Every time we had these setbacks,” the chancellor would forge ahead, insisting, “‘We need this.’”

Then Ivy Tech officials bought the Forethought building so the college site could grow. Moeller reflected the leader “couldn’t have done it this long if he didn’t love every minute of it. And I think he did.” He cited Helms for bringing this ITCC area “from its infancy to one of the very best regions … you’re one of my personal heroes.”

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