Ivan Lorentzen calls joining the FVCC faculty in 1971 at the age of 24 a “fortunate accident” as his position was funded through a grant that was awarded at the last minute. Forty years later, Lorentzen is still going strong as the college’s longest-standing employee and director of The Honors Program at FVCC, a program for highly-motivated honors students founded in 2009. A year later, Lorentzen was honored at the 2010 Association of Community College Trustees Leadership Congress in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for winning ACCT Faculty Member of the Year for the western region.
The award honors outstanding faculty members in each of the association’s five regions. Lorentzen was one of five community college faculty members recognized with the award among more than 1,200 community college faculty members in the United States and Canada. The Western Region is comprised of 93 community college association members in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territory and Saskatchewan.
“Being our institution’s senior faculty member in terms of longevity is in itself a distinction, but is only an initial point of reference in better understanding Ivan’s importance to FVCC and the greater community,” stated the nomination . “Ivan’s involvement in the community, as a board of trustee member of both elementary and high school districts, among many other civic roles, has been demonstrated time and time again. He proves every day that his service to the community doesn’t end when he leaves the classroom.”
Lorentzen has been an active leader in advancing the interests of and addressing the challenges facing two-year postsecondary institutions. He has served tirelessly on numerous committees to enhance FVCC’s capabilities and strengthen academic standards and opportunities for students and often has headed efforts that have produced the college’s most innovative initiatives.
In addition to teaching psychology, his noteworthy accomplishments have included organizing and serving as director of the college’s new Honors Program, the first of its kind on any of Montana’s 15 two-year postsecondary education campuses and one of only four at all of Montana’s 21 public institutions of higher education. His leadership in directing the college’s former annual Honor Symposium, a series of lectures presented on topical themes by national academic experts, and the annual FVCC Student Research Conference, an event that provided college and area high school students the opportunity to showcase and present their research, portfolios and projects to the community, are equally notable.
In 2007, Lorentzen was presented the college’s prestigious Eagle Award, an annual honor that recognizes individuals for their extraordinary contributions to the college. His leadership throughout his career at FVCC has resulted in the honor of being selected to chair numerous councils and committees including serving as division chair, Faculty Senate chair and chair of the Institutional Effectiveness Committee, among others. On the national level, he has served on numerous national panels, has presented papers at national conferences and has been chosen to review psychology textbooks. He has been extensively involved with the National Collegiate Honors Council and was invited to present at its annual conference in 2010.
Lorentzen has been actively involved in the Montana Career Clusters initiative and has presented at two National Career Clusters Conferences. His involvement in the community has included serving as chairman and member of the Leadership Flathead Steering Committee, serving as chairman and member of the Cayuse Prairie School Board of Trustees and currently serving on the Kalispell Public Schools Board of Trustees and chair of the Curriculum Committee.