HAMMOND and WESTVILLE — The Higher Learning Commission’s approval of the historic establishment of Purdue University Northwest and the subsequent initiation of PNW operations during the fall highlighted 2016 for Northwest Indiana’s largest university.
Purdue Northwest approved & advancing
A rigorous process that began in early 2014 of establishing Purdue Northwest by uniting the former Purdue University Calumet in Hammond and Westville-based Purdue University North Central earned Higher Learning Commission authorization March 4. As one university comprised of two campuses with more than 15,000 students and offering nearly 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, Purdue Northwest became Indiana’s fifth largest university.
“Unifying two Purdue regional campuses into one unparalleled Purdue University Northwest has opened the door to exciting new opportunities and achievements,” PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “Our newly established Purdue Northwest enables us to combine and allocate resources in ways that strengthen academic programs; benefit students, faculty and staff; increase institutional value; and expand opportunities for economic growth and development across Northwest Indiana.”
During its first academic term of operation in the fall, Purdue Northwest reported fall enrollment of 15,286 students. The total included an entry class of first-time freshmen who recorded a collective high school grade point average and SAT and ACT college preparation test scores that are higher than achieved by any previous entering freshmen classes at Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central.
The close of the year also saw PNW named to the 2017 Military Friendly Schools list as compiled by Victory Media Inc. The list honors colleges and universities that are most welcoming and helpful ensuring student success of military service members, veterans and spouses.
Other 2016 Purdue Northwest highlights:
To help empower students to take advantage of the best opportunities to succeed academically, SSC (Student Success Center)-Campus was introduced. SSC-Campus equips academic advisors with valuable information to help their students make appropriate academic decisions.
Thirteen individuals completed the first offering of PNW’s new Forensic Accounting Certificate Program. The program, intended for accounting, business and law enforcement professionals, provides knowledge to discover underlying discrepancies of white collar crime.
All 20 students enrolled in the senior level “International Organizations” political science class, taught by Associate Professor of Political Science Meg Rincker this fall, earned awards at the American Model United Nations Conference in Chicago. The annual collegiate event, attended by more than 1,000 national and international students, offers an innovative learning experience through realistic simulations of how the United Nations operates.
Six PNW Honors College students presented their research at the 51st annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Seattle, Wash. The students joined nearly 2,000 students and faculty participants from across the nation and world.
The close of the fall term earlier this month featured PNW’s first graduation class. The 990 undergraduate and graduate student candidates were honored at three Commencement Exercises held at Westville and Hammond campuses.
Faculty & staff achievements
Professor and former long-time director of PNW’s Marriage and Family Therapy master’s degree program Joseph Wetchler received the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s annual Outstanding Contribution to Marriage and Family Therapy Award.
Dean of the College of Technology Niaz Latif was honored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for professional commitment, a desire to further ASEE’s mission and participation in civic and community affairs, and by exemplifying the best in engineering education.
The stage drama, “Ernie,” written by Associate Professor of English Jerry Holt was selected to be part of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration. The play is based on the life of Hoosier native and Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
Facilities, outreach & economic development
The $34 million James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex was dedicated on the Westville Campus last spring. The 100,000+ square feet facility, whose namesake is the recently-retired chancellor of Purdue North Central, includes the H.D. Kesling Gymnasium, fitness and wellness centers, study lounge, student government and organization areas, game room and Great Hall banquet and event facility.
The PNW Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) was selected for inclusion in a national manufacturing network designed to fuel industry growth and innovation. As part of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, announced by President Obama, the PNW-based institute is working to further advanced manufacturing technology.
The CIVS research facility also received an $869,180 grant from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program for the project, “Troubleshooting and Safety Simulator for Wind Turbine Technician Education.” Through the project a web-based wind turbine simulator is being developed and implemented to help transform teaching practices in community college wind energy programs nationally.
Community & partnerships
PNW established a partnership with Enbridge to support current and future PNW students interested in pursuing careers in STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through the partnership, Enbridge is the named sponsor of the Purdue Northwest-Enbridge Summer Engineering Camps for Northwest Indiana middle and high school students. Regionally headquartered in Schererville, Enbridge transports North American crude oil and natural gas liquids from Canada and North Dakota to refineries in the Great Lakes Region and beyond.
Last spring’s first Purdue Northwest Purdue Day of Giving generated $693,515—more than tripling the original PNW goal of $185,000 in support of student success and programs.
A gift by Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Owners/Operators (NIMO) funded scholarships for 17 PNW students. The scholarships support full time students from Northwest Indiana who satisfy academic requirements, volunteer in their communities, demonstrate campus organizational leadership and hold a job while pursuing their education.
Purdue Northwest opened a Community Counseling Center near the Hammond Campus to provide short-term, affordable therapeutic services for adults and children dealing with anxiety and depression, grief-loss, the effects of drug or alcohol abuse, and issues related to identity/sexual orientation and coping. Graduate students provide the counseling under supervision and training of licensed professionals and faculty.
The annual series of Sinai Forums brought these nationally-recognized speakers to the Westville Campus this fall: journalist Ted Koppel, cancer researcher Kelly A. Turner, military war hero turned whistle-blower Jason Amerine, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator Bret Stephens and astronaut Jerry Ross.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NCAA) Division II approved Purdue Northwest’s application for membership. PNW will begin competing as an NCAA II member next fall. At that time, PNW also will become a competing member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Student-athlete Sergio Reyes was named a first team Academic All-American in men’s soccer by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). He is studying mechanical engineering.
Men’s cross country runner Salvador Cordova and the men’s soccer team qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championships this fall.
The PNW women’s basketball team has been nationally-ranked in NAIA Division II throughout the 2016 portion of its 2016-17 season.
With the establishment of Purdue University Northwest came the selection of “The Pride” as the nickname of PNW sports teams, supported by the bold mascot image of a lion.