VINCENNES, Ind. - The Vincennes University Board of Trustees extended the contract of VU President Dick Helton on Wednesday. Board Chair J.R. Gaylor said the Board extended the contract through July 31, 2015, because members were pleased with the leadership provided by Helton, the longest-serving president among the state’s public universities.
“The President has met or exceeded our criteria that we evaluated. We feel the University is headed in the right direction and that he will continue to take us where we need to go. We are proud of the service of the President all the way through staff and faculty. We sense that even in trying times the University is flourishing, so we want to see that continue going in the right direction,” Gaylor said.
In his response, Helton said he that “VU is a passion of mine and a labor of love.”
“I am starting my 45th year today as a public educator and I still enjoy working with students, faculty, staff, and administration. I have tons of energy, I enjoy coming to work each day, and so I am very pleased that the Board has extended my contract,” Helton said. “It has been a wonderful experience for me at Vincennes University. While people remind me that I am the longest tenured public university president in our state, I honestly do not know where the time has gone. I am pleased to be part of this institution, I think we have a wonderful mission, and I am just hopeful that we can continue to move forward,” Helton said.
A native of Otwell, a small town in southwestern Indiana, Helton was sworn-in as VU’s 21st president on August 18, 2004. Helton’s educational career included 19 years as a superintendent of schools in Indiana, with the last 14 years at the Avon Community School Corp.
In other business the Board approved more than $6 million in construction contracts for three projects on the Vincennes Campus.
* A total of $3.45 million in contracts was awarded for the Art Center. Peyronnin Construction Co., Evansville, was awarded a $2.29 million contract for general construction. Huntingburg Machine Works was awarded a $777,080 contract for mechanical construction. Weyer Electric, Ferdinand, was awarded a $388,278 electrical contract. The Art Center will be located on College Avenue between Third and Fourth streets, across from the Dayson Foundation and Alumni Center. The new 15,224 square- foot facility will include new equipment and technology for art instruction as well as a small gallery for exhibiting student works. It will replace the current Art Annex Building at the corner of Third and Scott streets.
* Wolfe Construction Co., Vincennes, was awarded a $1.28 million contract for constructing a front entry and installing an elevator for the Welsh Administration Building. The project also includes constructing a canopy connector to the adjacent Governor’s Hall.
* Three companies received contracts for phase 1 renovation of the oldest section of the Technology Center (Ebner Hall). Danco Construction, Evansville, received a $625,810 contract for general construction. Huntingburg Machine Works received a $644,720 contract for mechanical construction. Ohio Valley Sprinklers, Owensboro, Ky., received a $139,900 contract for sprinkler installation. The total of contracts awarded for Technology Center renovation is $1.41 million. In addition to installing a sprinkler system, the renovation of the five-story section of the Technology Building will include upgrading restrooms and the internal structure. It is the first phase of modernizing the building that originally was an industrial facility.
Three persons were sworn-in as new members of the Board of Trustees. They include Greg Harrell, who will represent students, and ex-officio members Tim Grove, superintendent of the South Knox School Corp., and Greg Parsley, superintendent of Vincennes Community School Corp.
Harrell is from Bedford. He earned an associate degree in Law Enforcement this past spring and is scheduled to earn his bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security from VU in May 2013. He has been named to the Dean’s List for five semesters and earned the Homeland Security program’s Top Gun Award for outstanding achievement. Since August 2011 he has served as a resident assistant for VU Housing and he served as a police cadet for the VU Police Department in 2010. Harrell was selected by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
“I am very excited to be appointed to this prestigious position on the Board. I look forward to utilizing this position as a platform to represent the voices of the Student Body,” Harrell said.
The VU Board also granted police powers to four new officers of the VU Police Department. They are Justin L. McBee, who holds associate degrees from VU in Law Enforcement and Loss Prevention; Tyler L. Landers, a graduate of the Illinois State Police Academy and a police officer since May 2010; Adam C. Daugherty, a current VU Law Enforcement major who has worked as a Campus Security Officer; and Jamie L. Henning, a former Indiana University student now majoring in Law Enforcement at VU. All four officers reside in Vincennes, have completed a four-week VU training course, and are now participating in a 12-week field training program.