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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

education

Commission for Higher Education welcomes Valparaiso Mayor Costas

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas was appointed as the newest member of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.  

The Commission was formed in 1971 to guide the missions of public colleges and universities. It also works to approve or disapprove the creation of new university programs or extension of colleges and review budget requests.

Costas will be returning to the commission following his January 2011 resignation due to his duties as mayor. He was originally appointed to the commission in July 2005 and reappointed again in July 2009, said Jason Bearce, associate commissioner for Strategic Communications and Initiatives.

“Mayor Jon Costas is a true public servant who takes great pride in serving the people of Valparaiso,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a news release. “His leadership abilities and
integrity are important strengths to have on the Higher Education Commission.”

Costas is also an elder law attorney with Burke, Costanza & Carberry LLP.

Hannah Rozow, an undergraduate at IU, is a student member of the commission. As a student representative, Rozow acts as the voice for Indiana’s 400,000 college students.

Rozow said all the members have a wide variety of backgrounds and are very intelligent.

“The rest of the commission, I know, is very excited to have him,” she said.
Rozow said because Costas is mayor of Valparaiso as well as an attorney, it will help the commission to better understand the state’s needs within that area.

She said a lot of higher education is regionally based. A degree program in Northwest Indiana may not be feasible for Southwest Indiana.

She said the community is excited regarding the appointment.

“This has received media coverage like I’ve never seen before,” Rozow said.

Commission member Michael Smith said the group is excited to have Costas back and described Costas as “imminently qualified.”

“Jon is a wonderful guy,” he said.

During Costas’ chairmanshi, he drafted the “Reaching Higher, Achieving More” initiative, which aims to encourage more students to enroll in higher education institutions.

According to the initiative’s website, “it is not an overstatement to say that Indiana’s future depends on the educational attainment of its citizens.”

Smith said Costas brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the goals of education for the state.

For the future, Smith said the commission is focusing on helping students stay on track to graduate and increasing local awareness of high-quality post-secondary education.

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