Commencement to honor academic triumph Saturday


For some students, this may be the best Christmas ever as they head into the holidays with freshly minted degrees. More than 830 students will be awarded bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during commencement ceremonies Saturday.

Purdue Northwest will honor 833 student candidates at the fall commencement ceremony on Saturday.

These students represent PNW’s five academic colleges and are eligible to receive their degrees. In all, the total includes 638 students will earn their baccalaureate degrees, 193 will be awarded their master’s degrees and two will earn their doctoral degrees.

Degrees will be presented during two commencement ceremonies at John Friend Court inside the Fitness & Recreation Center on the Hammond campus.

Candidates from colleges of Business and Nursing will be recognized at 11 a.m. Candidates from the Engineering and Sciences, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, and Technology will be recognized at 3 p.m.

James E. Dedelow, co-owner of WJOB radio station in Hammond, will be the keynote speaker. Dedelow, a Munster resident, and his wife, attorney Alexis Vazquez Dedelow, have owned WJOB since 2004.

“I didn’t think I’d get here,” said Nerissa C. Fezler, a graduating senior studying Communications. “I went to college to prove a point; I am worthy of getting this degree and I am worthy of starting my Masters in the Spring.” 

“I am so excited to cheer my friends across the stage, too” she said.

For some students, earning their degree is meaningful to them and their extended families.

“This degree proves to [me] and my family that I was able to commit this entire time,” said Madison Dornack, a Psychology major. “Despite all of the setbacks throughout the four years, I am able to prove myself worthy of this degree.”

“I couldn’t feel any better about moving on to the next chapter of my life,” said Dornack. “I have the tools and the ability to succeed anywhere my path takes me.”

Many graduates are grateful for their experiences at PNW.

“I have been at PNW for 3½ years and am grateful for all of the wonderful memories I have,” said Megan Granados, a Business Management graduate. “I was involved in organizations such as Student Government Association and the Honors College. I also worked for the Communications Department and New Student Orientation.

“Through these groups, I met some of my closest friends and supporters,” she said. “Although I am sad to be leaving, I am proud of all I have accomplished and am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”

While the friends met along the way will always be impactful, the accomplishment of earning a degree is one of the best feelings PNW has to offer. 

“Being a PNW graduate means so much more to me than just a piece of paper,” said Emily Kozina, a Broadcasting graduate. “Graduating from PNW is such an accomplishment and I’m so thankful for the friends I’ve made.” 

“All the people I’ve met … make it even harder for me to leave this place, but goodness I’m grateful for the memories I’ve made,” said Kozina.

Graduates with the highest grade point average from each college will be presented a Chancellor Medallion by PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon. Other distinguished graduates will also be recognized.