Celebration at commencement: Spring 2018 class graduates


Steven Petty

Chancellor Thomas Keon speaks to graduates at the Hammond campus.

Applause erupted in the FRC and DSSAC on Friday, Saturday and Monday as Chancellor Thomas Keon asked the graduates to move their tassels to the left side of their caps to signify their new status as alumni.

The university’s graduates this semester numbered 1,270, according to a PNW press release.

PNW graduates Alexis Vazquez Dedelow, Lake County judicial officer and majority owner of radio station WJOB, and Don Babcock, director of development for NIPSCO, were guest speakers for these ceremonies.

“I am well aware of the hard work and sacrifice that brought you here today,” Vazquez Dedelow  said.

Vazquez Dedelow summarized her life experiences in these lessons: cherish mistakes and forgive yourself for them; go beyond your comforts and plans; value diversity and consider it a strength; and appreciate the help of family.

Hammond campus student and new graduate Kasey Kulesa received the Chancellor’s Medallion for the College of Nursing to recognize that she had earned the highest GPA in the college.

“I enjoyed the fact that PNW is smaller and more manageable than a larger university. I felt as if I was valued as a student here and not just a number. I loved the nursing program and learned so much from the dedicated and experienced professors,” Kulesa said.

She was able to get a position as fellow at Franciscan Health Hammond’s Emergency Department.

“I do feel prepared for the career I will be entering. The nursing program at PNW equipped me with the skills necessary to be a successful nurse in the real world. Although nursing requires extensive on-the-job training, I feel confident in my critical thinking and reasoning skills,” she said.

Kulesa said the Emergency Department was the place she most wanted to gain experience in, and she will now be going to Indianapolis to work in the Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center at IU Methodist Hospital.

“From the beginning, I realized this program was going to be rigorous and require a lot of dedication. Therefore, I developed great study skills and techniques to be successful in my classes. This required making my classes a high priority in my life so I could do well,” Kulesa said.

Westville campus student Megan Boo graduated from the College of Business with a double concentration in management and marketing. She said she already has been working at Horizon Bank in Michigan City and believes her studies helped her prepare for the career she plans in banking.

Boo also said one aspect of PNW which she most enjoyed was the oppportunity to form relationships with instructors and fellow students. Another aspect was the flexibility to begin work for her career while completing the degree.

Nevertheless, in her final semester, she said she dealt with the heaviest workload of any semester: she had a fulltime job along with multiple group projects, and she did eight presentations in four weeks.

“I overcame this by continuing to focus on the end goal of graduating and getting to integrate the work that I was doing into a career, which I would be entering in very soon,” Boo said.