After 16 years of dreaming, 10 years of planning, and over a year of construction Chancellor James B. Dworkin was finally able to cut the ribbon on his vision for the students of Purdue Northwest’s North Central Campus. The ceremony was an opportunity for donors to take a tour of the Student Services and Activity Complex that would not exist without their support and Dworkin’s determination.
While there were many questions to be answered there was one no one had to ask: How will this Campus impact my community?
“Purdue holds our heart,” said mother and Purdue Alumni Sue Jones. “Because Jerry (her husband) graduated here, our daughter graduated here, and our son also went here. What better way is there to donate your time and money than toward education?”
When Jones attended the University, the North Central campus was just one building. The new complex is an exponent in an already impressive pattern of growth.
Communications Student, Samantha Lincoln said that, “For three years I’ve traveled to watch our team play. [These donors] have brought that home. We no longer have to depend on other facilities to host our events.”
The SSAC will host Lincoln’s sporting events, Dworkin’s graduation ceremonies, student meetings, private weddings, and many other social and recreational activities. Athletic Director Tom Albano called the complex a “game changer for athletes and students alike.”
La Porte County is on track to be one of the top ten healthiest communities in the country by 2030, according to Thor Thordarson, CEO of La Porte Hospital. They sponsored the complex because of its potential to bring us further toward our health goals.
Mayor Blair Milo of La Porte agrees that the SSAC will contribute to the overall health of our county. To her, the complex means having another initiative that fits into her promotion of healthy lifestyle choices.
Every attendant had his or her own reason to support the complex and to get excited. The man with the biggest smile was Chancellor Dworkin, who was honored to have the new complex named after him. Thordarson said that as long as he had known Dworkin, the Chancellor had been talking about building this complex.
“There’s something very special about graduating at your own building,” said Dworkin. “We see a place where students can congregate. Where for the first time they can do intramurals.”
Purdue Northwest was able to raise 3.4 million dollars on its own before the state agreed to help. “I’ve been waiting for this for 16 years,” said Dworkin. The Student Services and Activities Complex is something most of the donors have been waiting for, for a long time. If they are not Alumni themselves, at least one of their children is. Mayor Meer’s daughter will be attending in the fall.
Mayor Meer talked to attendees about the scholarship program starting in Michigan City. He estimates that 75% of students who get the scholarship will attend local schools, and most of them will go to Purdue’s North Central campus where the complex will benefit them firsthand.
“As the community works with the institution,” he said, “It’s a win-win.”