Commencement is a momentous occasion, representing the culmination of years of hard work and diligence. It is a time of joy, of tears, of transformation. This year, that transformation was not only evident in the awarding of degrees to the 983 graduates who were to be recognized at the Commencement Exercises, but also represents a transformation for the college itself: this will be the last graduation class of Purdue University Calumet. This fall, PUC will join with Purdue University North. The new college will be called Purdue University Northwest.
The commencement is set to take place over the course of two days. The first of this year's graduates – those from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Education and Purdue Graduate School - celebrated their commencement on Friday, with the rest of the colleges to celebrate on Saturday. Friday’s event began with an address given by esteemed Purdue alum, William Ciesar, senior associate general counsel at Deloitte LLP, who offered the graduates some advice on how to set themselves apart from their peers.
“Simple: let them know you are there,” said Ciesar. “Take a chance in life. It takes courage. It’s tough. You won’t always get a job on the first try. Rejection will come. But in order to be successful, you have to be brave enough to try and to fail. Stay strong, work hard and put in the time.”
Of particular note were those recipients of the Chancellor’s Medallion, which is awarded to those graduates of each of PUC’s six academic colleges. Friday's Chancellor's Medallions were awarded to Melissa Strohl, from the College of Education; Matthew R. Wilson and Lori Anne Haas, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; Tongan Wang and Mingxin Yang, from the College of Business; Ryan M. Neis, College of Technology; Sarah M. Heming, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and Nicole C. LaMantia and Carly A. Kiran, from the College of Nursing.
Following the awarding of their diplomas, the graduates were instructed to move their tassels to the left, to signify their achievement, as their families and friends erupted into cheers and applause.
The event was concluded with an address to the graduates, given by Scott Schaller, president of Purdue University Alumni Board.
“Your graduation day is not a conclusion, but a transition into the Purdue University Alumni community,” said Schaller, who urged the graduates to remember to give thanks to all those who helped them on their journey towards higher education. “You are part of something greater – you are Purdue University Northwest. Go out there and make your mark upon the world.”
PUC graduate Bridget Sanchez was particularly thankful to her family.
“I don’t even have words for it,” said Sanchez. “My family came to this country from Mexico to give me this chance, this opportunity, and I’m very thankful to them. This means so much to me.”
Sanchez is the very proud, new owner of a Bachelor of Science degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, and is looking forward to her future working in the clinical field.
Candice Ford, president of the PUC Student Government Board addressed her fellow graduates.
“We did it. The journey was well worth it,” said Ford, who thanked the faculty for their impact before offering words of encouragement to the graduates. “This is the time that we get to go out and touch the world. We get to go out and help people. Be generous. Be patient. Be compassionate. Carve your own path. Be bold. Be courageous... And be your best.”
This most recent graduating class brings to more than 54,000 the number of degrees awarded at Purdue Calumet.