PNW announces Hall of Fame inductees • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
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PNW announces Hall of Fame inductees

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Purdue University Northwest named three regional leaders to its 2024 Alumni Hall of Fame class.

The university will honor Thomas McDermott, Diane Kavadias Schneider and Jeff Strack for being leaders in their fields and communities.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome these three accomplished PNW alumni and friends of the university to our Alumni Hall of Fame,” Chancellor Thomas Keon said in a press release.

Inductee have been actively engaged with the university since their graduation.

“They have remained loyally connected and integrally involved in PNW’s forward direction as a catalyst for our region,” Keon said. “Their induction attests to their fervor in helping make Northwest Indiana the best place it can be for its community members.”

Thomas McDermott is the 20th mayor of Hammond. He earned his bachelor's degree in finance from PNW in 1996. His city's college bound program has helped hundreds of students attend the university. PNW’s School of Education and Counseling helped write the curriculum for the Hammond Academy of Science and Technology charter school.

The Honorable Diane Kavadias-Schneider retired in 2019 after 33 years of service in the courts. She earned her bachelor of arts and master of arts in English from PNW in 1971 and 2023. Kavadias-Schneider delivered the university’s commencement address in 2023. She established a scholarship at PNW to support criminal justice students.

Jeff Strack is the president and CEO of Indiana Grocery Group. His company does business as Strack & Van Til stores. Strack earned his MBA from PNW in 2000. He has mentored PNW College of Business students and served on two university advisory boards.

The inductees will be honored on April 4 during a dinner in Alumni Hall on the university's Hammond campus. Ticket and sponsorship information will be announced in early 2024.

“Their achievements, accomplishments and generosity will be celebrated and inspire others to reach greater heights,” said Katie Holderby, director of alumni engagement.

PNW has campuses in Hammond and Westville. Both campuses opened in the 1940s. Students from 30 states and 50 countries attend the university.

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