Launching Ithaca Forever

By IC News staff, October 24, 2019
Rockets add flair to strategic plan launch party.

On October 23, Ithaca College launched its five-year strategic plan — Ithaca Forever — with a bang. Literally.

A total of 10 rockets were launched by Dana Professor of Physics and Astronomy Luke Keller and his students, one for each of the nine goals and one large one for the plan as a whole. A rocket was launched after each goal was announced by the goal co-chairs, who walked the blue carpet to their very own “walkup” music and encouraged the crowd to make some noise with cowbells and clappers. (See the list of the goal co-chairs below).

But before the rockets took off into the clear blue autumn sky, President Shirley M. Collado urged the entire campus community to get involved with the work of the strategic plan.

“Not only are we launching Ithaca Forever, we are honoring this community, honoring our resiliency, and honoring the promise of this institution,” Collado said. “The success of Ithaca Forever relies on all of us. We have a great responsibility to each other, to this institution, and to the legacy we build for those beyond us, including the students.”

Several students attended the event, including first-year student Sherleen Vargas, an occupational therapy major.

“When you plan something, it’s so exciting to see it become successful,” said Vargas. Since she is in a five-year program, she said she will be able to see the plan executed from start to finish. “I am definitely planning on getting involved.”

Everyone who made remarks commented on the inclusive, collaborative nature of the strategic plan, both in its planning and implementation.

“The vision for this plan was to bring a greater variety of ideas and voices to the table, and to have the campus community fully participate in this process,” said Provost La Jerne Terry Cornish, co-chair of the Implementation Design Team. “We did that. And this effort yielded a plan for the future of Ithaca College that resulted in an action plan and an implementation that included all voices on campus, as well as those in the surrounding community.”

“When you plan something, it’s so exciting to see it become successful. I am definitely planning on getting involved.”

Sherleen Vargas ’23

Hayley Harris, IC’s vice president of human and organizational development and planning and co-chair of the Implementation Design Team, added: “We are all in this together, and we are going to accomplish great things this year.”

IC Board of Trustees Chair Dave Lissy ’87 said he’d never seen such a collaborative process.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, we have been so impressed with and grateful for the great work of this Ithaca College community in creating this plan,” Lissy said. “We stand ready to support President Collado, the senior leadership team, and the campus community as we bring this plan to life.”

Goal Co-Chairs

Goal co-chairs include IC faculty and staff, as well as community-based representatives.

  • Student Success: Elizabeth Bleicher (faculty) and Jacqueline Winslow (staff)
  • Year-Round Campus: Jason Freitag (faculty) and Sybil Conrad (staff)
  • Collaboration: Jeane Copenhaver-Johnson (staff) and Vikki Levine (staff)
  • Community Resources: David Harker (staff) and Paula Younger (staff)
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Hierald Osorto (staff) and Judith Pena-Shaff (faculty)
  • Sustainable Size: Brad Hougham (staff) and Dave Weil (staff)
  • Employer of Choice: Delphia Howze (staff) and Christine Bataille (faculty)
  • Master Plan: Tim Carey (staff) and Marc Israel (staff)
  • Ithaca Forever: Gretchen Van Valen (staff) and Schelley Michell-Nunn ’81 (Director of Human Resources for the City of Ithaca)