Purdue University Northwest (PNW) honored the class of 2023 on May 6 at its spring commencement. Family, friends, faculty, and more gathered to recognize the achievements, dedication, and hard work of all of the graduates.
The 2023 graduating class was 889 strong, with 755 earning baccalaureate degrees and 134 earning master’s degrees. The graduates studied in the academic colleges of Business, Engineering and Sciences, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Nursing, and Technology.
Graduation day can bring mixed emotions for students. On one hand, it's sad to leave college, but on the other, it's the next step in life. For Master of Science graduate Princess Wednesday Daniels-Porter, the day was filled with joy and pride as she had to overcome so much to be where she is now.
“Today is definitely bittersweet for me,” said Daniels-Porter. “The people I wanted to be here, my parents, both passed while I was in the program, so overcoming that and being here is very special. It’s a very special day for a lot of people and me as well, it’s very exciting.”
It takes a lot of hard work to earn a degree from PNW, but a degree is not the only thing students leave college with. On the long road to graduation, many learn life lessons and gain lifelong friends. Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate Jordan Lott explained how his efforts got him to graduation, and how he will always remember his time at PNW fondly.
“The program has been three years in the making,” said Lott. “It’s been a long time coming, and the people I ended the program with I really cherish and love. Nursing is challenging. You’re graded on a different caliber than other students, and I feel like it poses its own stress, but PNW is a great institution, especially for nursing.”
Lott proudly wore a silver cord with his regalia, signifying that he is a first-generation student in his family to earn a bachelor's degree.
The commencement ceremony kicked off with the graduates processing on the Alumni Path through the center of the venue.
Family members were standing and excited to see their graduates enter. Family is very important to college students, and PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon echoed this sentiment during his opening remarks.
“Graduation is not a celebration exclusive to those receiving their diploma,” said Keon. “Many parents, family, and friends helped make today possible.”
The Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Judge Schneider served 33 years in various positions in the Lake County courts and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from PNW.
Judge Schneider was honored to address the class of 2023. She shared details from her career journey and gave the graduates advice that will not only help them in the work world but will make them better people in general.
“First of all, count your blessings,” said Schneider. “Be grateful. Always show gratitude to those who support and assist you. Be proud of your heritage and never forget your roots. Be proud of who you are, and strive to maintain your values. Always show empathy toward others. Respect yourself and others. Acknowledge the opinions of others with whom you disagree, and their right to have them.”
To learn more about Purdue University Northwest, visit their website at pnw.edu.