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Paddling into the future:

Fall 2018 class looks ahead, graduates

PNW%E2%80%99s+Fall+2018+graduation+ceremonies+awarded+806+diplomas+between+the+two+campuses.
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Paddling into the future:

PNW’s Fall 2018 graduation ceremonies awarded 806 diplomas between the two campuses.

PNW’s Fall 2018 graduation ceremonies awarded 806 diplomas between the two campuses.

Sergio Valdes

PNW’s Fall 2018 graduation ceremonies awarded 806 diplomas between the two campuses.

Sergio Valdes

Sergio Valdes

PNW’s Fall 2018 graduation ceremonies awarded 806 diplomas between the two campuses.

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PNW celebrated the conferral of 673 bachelor’s 131 master’s and two applied doctoral degrees at ceremonies held on the Westville campus Friday, Dec. 7 and on the Hammond campus Saturday,
Dec. 8.

Stephen Turner, vice chancellor for finance and administration, served as the keynote speaker at the ceremonies.

Turner’s speech played on the metaphor of paddling one’s canoe through life. To both physically demonstrate this theme and encourage participation, Turner asked the graduates and audience to shout “Paddle your canoe!” when he raised his oar.

“Envision your next journey as a canoe trip on a river you’ve never seen,” Turner said. “You can choose your river, but you can’t possibly know exactly what you will find on it.”

Turner recalled many key moments of his life, such as career changes and the completion of his undergraduate and graduate
degrees. He referred to the changes in his lifetime as the log jams, forks and bends in the river of his own personal canoe journey.

Turner then offered some advice to the new graduates.

“First, decide carefully on your river. And you must pick a river. Go to the water’s edge, push off,” Turner said,
before raising his oar, causing the audience to shout “Paddle
your canoe!”

“When you hit an obstacle, and you absolutely will hit obstacles, pick up your gear and carry it around the other side until you find a clear spot. Your skills and your experiences will grow each time you do,” Turner said. “You will eventually become an expert at reading the current and reading the river and you’ll begin to
appreciate each new bend and each new challenge. That is when your journey becomes its most beautiful. And that is when you know that you are ready to become a guide for others,” Turner said.

Turner concluded his speech by encouraging the graduates to pursue their goals no matter how many obstacles lie ahead, and to embrace and enjoy their next journey.

Ashley Gerodimos, executive director of the Purdue Northwest Alumni Community, said that the education she received at
PNW prepared her for her field of study and beyond.

“Outside of my own family, the biggest supporters I have had throughout my career have been my professors and other PNW community members,” Gerodimos said.

She also encouraged the new graduates to stay connected with the university. “Purdue Northwest is more than looks, bricks and
mortar. Its real value is in its community of people,”
Gerodimos said.

Riley Owens, SGA president, shared advice with the graduates, urging them to move forward in their careers and in their lives with the intent of being kind to others.

“Your success is not measured by your wealth, status, accolades or income; your success is measured by how many lives you change and touch, through your small acts of kindness and by your interactions with others on a daily basis,” Owens said.

He concluded by prompting the graduates to practice change and foster success with those around them through altruism.

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