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BVU Alum Named President at Iowa Central Community College

May 12, 2021 11:29am

Dr. Jesse Ulrich was named Iowa Central Community College President in March. Ulrich, a 2005 graduate of Buena Vista University, will complete his term as Superintendent of the Fort Dodge Community School District on June 30, then assume his new post at ICCC.

“I’m very blessed,” says Ulrich. “Iowa Central allows me to return to my alma mater in a region where I received all of my undergraduate education.”

The West Bend native earned his associate degree at Iowa Central, then transitioned into BVU’s undergraduate program, earning a bachelor’s in American/world history and social sciences. He also earned an endorsement in special education. His advanced degrees and Ph.D. in educational leadership are from Iowa State University.

“At the time I was an undergraduate, I worked fulltime at a center for delinquent juveniles within a care facility in Fort Dodge,” Ulrich recalls. “It made perfect sense for me to remain there at that job as I took BVU classes. My associate degree through Iowa Central rolled over right into my work at BVU. I had great advisors and it all worked very well.”

With a dearth of education jobs available in Iowa in 2005, Ulrich ventured south to Arizona, where he began his teaching career at Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley. He coached football, basketball, and track as well.

While in Arizona, Ulrich married his high school sweetheart, Amy, and, together, they returned to Iowa, where Ulrich went to work at Dallas Center-Grimes Middle School. Administrative positions would follow at Graettinger-Terril, AHST and Walnut, and then at Fort Dodge. Along the way, he and Amy, a Registered Nurse, welcomed four children: Breckyn, Baylor, Bentley, and Bo.

He was one of 37 applicants and five finalists considered for the Iowa Central Community College post.

Ulrich mentions challenges facing those in higher education, issues that range from COVID-19 to enrollment to staying abreast of the challenges to keep institutions relevant and accessible for students.

“We’re still dealing with COVID-19 and how the pandemic will have our programs looking in the fall,” Ulrich says. “I see BVU as integral to what we do. As with any program, you continue to evaluate goals that are mutually beneficial; those that serve students who earn degrees and are then ready to go in the workforce, making sure they become a key part of our greater society.”