Lakeshore News Tonight

Purdue Graduates Historic Class, Invited to Stay

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December 17, 2013 by Renetta DuBose — The message was clear to students at Purdue University Calumet’s fall and summer graduates.  Staying in Northwest Indiana is vital.   Commencement speaker Congressman Pete Visclosky said if students receive an education in the Region, they should stay.

“Since 1970 we’ve lost over 9% of our population.  Our median income is down over 15% and the average person living in Lake County today is 43% older.  That tells me that young people, many of whom are graduates of Purdue University Calumet, when they have that talent and then they get that education, they don’t stay,” said Congressman Visclosky.

Degrees were conferred to more than 900 graduates, a history-making exercise that produced engineers and those in the health industry, to name a few fields, and the Congressman’s tips were helpful for some in moving into the workforce.

“I liked all of his motivational tips on how to do good in the real world,” said nursing graduate Kathryn Papamihalakis.

Students heard remarks from other Purdue faculty and staff, but the future was all some could think about.

Papamihalakis said, “I love people.  I love taking care of people.  I’ve had amazing opportunities to take care of people in nursing school.  It’s an amazing feeling.”

Graduate Johnnie Young already owns a used car lot and he now has the degree to help him do the job.

He said, “It was a passion of mine since I was younger, and I’ve always been intrigued about the transactions of business so I wanted to learn the science of it.”

Visclosky said keeping the vast amount of talent in the region is key to the area thriving, “Some of that can be accessed to the economy of Chicago.  Chicago’s economy is larger than Sweden’s.  But part of that is to draw that economic activity to Northwest Indiana.”


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