"Only a Hoosier (and a man) can run Ivy Tech!"

Dateline: Wed 25 Apr 2007

"And I'm god damn proud to be a Hoosier!" Gerald Lampkin told the audience at his fairwell dinner Saturday, as he stepped down as the prez of the mighty-mighty Ivy Tech College system.

OK, he didn't really say "only a man," can run the show, but that's the implication for friends and fans of Carol D'Amico. She's the Ivy Tech veep and longtime respected educator who was widely thought to be in line for the Ivy Tech top job -- not just for her expertise, but because at one time she enjoyed the backing of Lampkin himself.

Instead, Anderson biznessman Thomas Snyder was picked in a close and controversial vote by the board. Why was D'Amico passed over?

We may never know the true answer to that, but here's a between-the-lines look. At Gerry Lampkin's bye-bye party, Mrs. Lampkin took the stage first, proclaiming that "no outsider" is going to shake up the Ivy Tech family.

Then, Lampkin himself made his speech, saying, "Only a Hoosier can run our Ivy Tech. And I'm god damned proud to be a Hoosier."

Some of us thought Carol D'Amico was a Hoosier, too. Born in Canada, she moved to New Castle with her family when she was growing up and received degrees from Ball State University and Indiana University.

Meanwhile, she's continuing to work out the details of her settlement with the Ivy Tech system -- a severance package strengthened by two big concerns: that higher-ups at Ivy Tech (including Lampkin) had vowed that a woman would never run the system, and that Carol herself couldn't do the job because her husband is crippled. He has Parkinson's which has nothing to do with D'Amico's qualifications whatsoever. Altho the Americans with Disabilities Act might see a connection between such a comment and discrimination.

D'Amico has heard from three out-of-state community colleges seeking a new prez. Which Ivy Tech may soon need -- Snyder reportedly has told friends he will stay only two years.

Given Ivy Tech's dismal graduation rate, reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal on Saturday -- 15 percent in some on some of its campuses -- no wonder he's already thinking of an exit strategy.

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