Indiana State Representative David Ober returned to his alma mater Friday (5/5) and Saturday (5/6) to share with Purdue University Northwest graduates how the culture and diversity he experienced as an undergraduate student have shaped his future.
The 2009 alumnus, who earned a baccalaureate degree in computer graphics technology, was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 2012 from District 82. He is speaking at three of PNW’s four spring Commencement Exercises. Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. will speak at Monday’s (5/8) graduation ceremony at Westville.
A class of 1,203 represents PNW’s first spring graduation class. The class is comprised of 176 individuals receiving master’s degrees, 1,021 gaining baccalaureate degrees and six others claiming associate degrees.
“The culture here at Purdue Northwest is completely different from anything I’ve experienced,” Ober, an Albion, Ind. native, said. “My high school graduating class of 87 in my hometown was nearly all white, and for the first time in my life I experienced diversity… There’s a change that happens when you are immersed in such incredible diversity. You begin to lose sight of the immediate differences and gain a better respect of your similarities.”
Some 819 degree honorees are participating in the four PNW ceremonies.
The graduations also include presentation of a Chancellor Medallion to the graduating senior in each of the university’s five academic colleges with the highest grade point average.
Medallion recipients are: Melinda Fuller of Crown Point (Humanities, Education and Social Sciences); Natalie Newbold of Valparaiso (Business); Noah Feldman of Schererville (Engineering and Sciences; Jeremy Michaelis of Valparaiso and Gabriella Gonzalez of Lake Station (Nursing); and Jeffrey Bonesteel of Chicago (Technology).