PNC Alumni Association – McDonald’s Give Back Day

The Purdue University North Central Alumni Association will benefit from a Give Back Day hosted by the Westville McDonald’s, located at 800 North Flynn Road, on Nov. 4 from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The PNC Alumni Association will receive 50 percent of the purchase price of every latte or lemonade sold. If there are more than 500 purchases, McDonald’s will donate $1,000 to the PNC Alumni Association.McDonalds Event Final

“Pounce,” the PNC Mascot, will make an appearance from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in the McDonald’s lobby.

Marie Foster, director of advancement said that “This generous partnership with McDonald’s of La Porte County not only benefits the PNC Alumni Association, it allows us to build awareness for the services we provide to our 13,000 active alumni.”

“McDonald’s of La Porte County does give back events because when people actively participate in community events they find themselves becoming a part of that community,” said Sam Lubeznik one of the McDonald’s owners. “It helps to change Westville from a dot on a map to a place that you consider home. Communities, like homes, need maintenance from time to time. As a member of the La Porte County community, some of that maintenance is my responsibility. The goal is to find ways to give so that years from now we can all look to see how the community has grown and know that all of us were a part of that.”

The PNC Alumni Association is dedicated to keeping alumni and current students of PNC involved and connected with the university. Its mission is to promote the growth of Purdue University North Central and to encourage the interest of the alumni and local citizens.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Erika Jones, PNC alumni coordinator, at 219-785-5274 or

PNC Announces Recipients of New Scholarship Funded by Local McDonald’s Restaurant Operators

  • Scholarships awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership ability and dedication to community service initiatives

Seventeen Purdue University North Central students have been selected as recipients of a new scholarship program funded by the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators (NIMO).

Purdue University North Central students who received the scholarships funded by the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators are: Back row, from left: Nolin Bruns, Jacob Moore, Aaron Ciesielski, Sam Swanson, Kurt Urbanski. Front Row, from left: Ellyn Johansen, Ashley Starcevich, Kristin Wesse, Lindsey Zajac

Purdue University North Central students who received the scholarships funded by the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators are: Back row, from left: Nolin Bruns, Jacob Moore, Aaron Ciesielski, Sam Swanson, Kurt Urbanski. Front Row, from left: Ellyn Johansen, Ashley Starcevich, Kristin Wesse, Lindsey Zajac

A financial gift was made to PNC to provide scholarships to students of all levels – freshman through master’s candidates – in all fields of study. The partnership with Purdue North Central was established in 2015 as part of NIMO’s commitment to supporting education in Northwest Indiana.

“Thank you to the Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators for awarding these generous scholarships to deserving Purdue North Central students,” said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. “College affordability is a concern for most students and these scholarships will definitely help to ease some of the financial concerns that students face as they pursue their degrees. About 85 percent of all PNC graduates continue to live and work in Northwest Indiana following their graduation and we all look forward to seeing these talented individuals become our business and community leaders in the years ahead.”

“The Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators believe that education is a true game-changer,” said Bob Mazzaro, president of NIMO and a McDonald’s restaurant owner/operator. “We founded this scholarship to help provide access to higher education for local students in Northwest Indiana. It is a privilege to celebrate their academic success and help support them as they continue along their educational journey.”

Scholarships were awarded in three categories:

McDonald’s Future Leaders – Ten scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to freshman-level students pursuing a degree in any area of study.

Shy-Anne Bolde                 Jonathon Dickens
Taylor Briel                         Abigail Halaschak
Nolin Bruns                        Jacob Moore
Maria Cervantes                Jessica Wallen
Gustavo Cisneros              Madeline Wojasinski

McDonald’s Students of the Year –Seven scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded one student from each department: College of Business; College of Engineering & Technology; College of Liberal Arts; College of Science; Graduate Studies; Athletics; PNC Student Organizations.

Aaron Ciesielski – Graduate Studies
Kurt Urbanski – Student Organizations
Ellyn Johansen – College of Liberal Arts
Kristin Wesse – College of Science
Ashley Starcevich – Athletics
Lindsey Carol Zajac – College of Business
Sam Swanson – College of Engineering & Technology

McDonald’s Scholar of the Year – Aaron Ciesielski, a Student of the Year scholarship recipient, was chosen as the Scholar of the Year and awarded an additional $3,000 scholarship.

“We are passionate about initiatives that support ongoing education and community collaboration,” said Sam Lubeznik, a McDonald’s owner/operator in LaPorte County. “The 2015 NIMO Scholarship recipients are an exceptional group of students who live these core values everyday – both in the classroom and in their personal lives.”

The NIMO Scholarship was established to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment toward achieving their academic goals while exhibiting leadership through service of others. The scholarship program is open to full-time students who are residents of Northwest Indiana, have achieved academic excellence (minimum 2.75 GPA), support their community through volunteer activities, serve in a leadership role in a campus club or organization and are currently employed while pursuing a degree.

About NIMO:
The Northwest Indiana McDonald’s Operators (NIMO) are a group of 15 individual owner/operators with more than 50 restaurants throughout Northwest Indiana, including stores as far north as Whiting, west as Munster, south as Rensselaer, and east as LaPorte. NIMO manages and facilitates all marketing, community relations, educational and philanthropic programs throughout the region, and is responsible for implementing and maintaining consistency at every McDonald’s restaurant in Northwest Indiana.

Visit NIMO’s social media outlets: Twitter – @McD_NWIndiana; Instagram – @McD_Chicago


Contacts for the media:
Nikki Lopez
(312) 552-6315

Carol Connelly
(219) 785-5267


PNC Campus Bookstore Hosts Ray Gleason Book Signing

Purdue University North Central Limited-term Lecturer and best-selling author Ray Gleason will be signing copies of his latest novel, “The Gabinian Affair” and answering questions about his writing on Friday, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the PNC campus bookstore, located on the lower level of the Library-Student-Faculty-Building. The event is open to the public.

Gleason, who is teaching English Composition II at PNC this semester, is a well-published fiction writer. “The Gabinian Affair” is the first installment of the Gaius Marius Chronicle, the memoir of a retired Roman soldier, who served with Caesar during his Gallic campaigns and throughout the Roman civil wars. The Gaius Marius Chronicle, an exciting new saga, is shrouded with mystery and intense drama, all the while retaining its historical accuracy.

In “The Gabinian Affair,” young Gaius Marius Insubrecus is torn between fantasy and reality. His grandfather told him fanciful tales of his heroic people, the Gah’el, while his mother, Valeria, desperately wants him to focus on becoming a practical Roman gentleman. Meanwhile, Insubrecus becomes infatuated with Gabinia, the beautiful daughter of a Roman Senator, who has vowed to kill him.

Insubrecus tries to escape the assassins sent after him from Rome by hiding in the Roman army, right at the time that the new governor, Gaius Iulius Caesar, decides to go to war with a fierce and ruthless tribe called the Helvetii. Insubrecus is plunged into a world of violence, intrigue and betrayal, as he tries to save his own life all while serving his new patron, Caesar.

Gleason will also be signing copies of his other books, “A Grunt Speaks: A Devil’s Dictionary of Vietnam Infantry Terms” and his first novel, “The Violent Season.” In addition, he teaches Medieval Literature at Northwestern University. Gleason became an advocate for the “lost generation” of the Vietnam-era in his best-selling novel, “The Violent Season.”

The Gabinian Affair has 240 pages and is being sold as a trade paperback for $16.95. For further information or to schedule an interview with Gleason, contact Nickcole Watkins at 516.900.5674.

PNC Staff Member Earns Professional Scholarship

A Purdue University North Central staff member recently earned a scholarship presented by the Midwest Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers.

Scott Parsons, maintenance crew leader, will use his scholarship to attend the Institute for Facilities Management, a key professional development institute designed to give its attendees the skills needed to manage the operations and personnel of a facilities department.

The Midwest Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, is known as the MAPPA thanks to its original name, Midwest Association of Physical Plant Administrators. The organization is dedicated to serving the needs of the facilities professionals who are responsible for maintaining, protecting and promoting the quality of educational facilities and libraries in the seven-state Midwest area. It is part of the international association, the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA).

The organization offers its members the professional development program, APPA U, which includes two programs – the Institute for Facilities Management and the Leadership Academy. Parsons will take part in the Institute for Facilities Management. The Institute for Facilities Management offers four different week-long professional education segments: General Administration & Management; Maintenance & Operations; Energy & Utilities; and Planning, Design & Construction. Institute students select one core area that will be the focus of their classes for that week. Presenters included professionals from universities located throughout the country. Parsons has completed two sessions and this scholarship will help fund his attendance at his third session.

Upon completing each week-long session, students will receive a certificate of completion designating their core area of study and 3.0 continuing education units (CEUs).  To receive maximum benefit, APPA recommends that students work towards graduation from the full Institute program by completing all four core areas.

PNC Again Earns NAIA Champions of Character Status

Purdue University North Central has been named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character institution for the 2014-15 academic year. PNC has earned the award every year since the award’s inception in 2002.

This year PNC was among 169 institutions named as Five-Star Award winners. Schools earning this distinction share the NAIA commitment to high standards and the principle that participation in athletics serves as an integral part of the total education process.

The mission of Champions of Character is to restore character values and raise a generation of students who understand and demonstrate in everyday decisions respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. The program is dedicated to the principle that character is a choice and that being a champion is not just about winning, but making good decisions in daily life.

The NAIA and member institutions use the Champions of Character program to instill an understanding of character values in sports, and provide student-athletes, coaches and parents the training to help them know and do the right things, inside and outside the sports setting.

“We are proud of our student athletes and all that they accomplish on the field, in the classroom and in the community. For PNC to consistently earn Champions of Character status confirms our focus on ensuring that our student-athletes succeed in sports, in their academic endeavors and in the world,” said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin.

To be considered a Champions of Character institution, schools must demonstrate how the Champions of Character program is incorporated in athletic contests, public service projects, established policies related to behavior in practice and game situations, athletic and academic environment and character education.

“We are honored once again to achieve designation as a Champions of Character Five Star institution,” said Tom Albano, PNC director of Athletics. “Being one of the very few schools to maintain this award since its inception shows the commitment our student-athletes and coaches have made to the five points on the star: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.”

Student-athletes have volunteered at athletic clinics, they’ve worked with children at the Michigan City Boys and Girls Club, they’ve helped the ValPLAYso volunteer effort, they keep a stretch of Indiana 421 clean, they’ve aided the Salvation Army, they were part of the Taste of Valparaiso and they lend a hand to many PNC projects.

A natural fit for many of PNC’s hardworking athletes is to participate and assist in hosting camps and clinics for youngsters around the many community high schools, parks and recreational youth leagues.

“Put us with a bunch of kids and we’ll stay all day long,” said freshman baseball player Christian Bland, an Electrical Engineering major. “I grew up volunteering, so I’m always ready to help.”

The PNC baseball team in particular took a leading role in this year’s efforts and helped with Portage High School and Valparaiso Parks baseball camps and hosted a camp on campus through the State Park Little League. The student athletes went to the Michigan City Boys and Girls club to talk about baseball, inspire the
youngsters to work out and maintain healthy lifestyles and led a game of Whiffle Ball.

Whether it’s helping to prepare a holiday dinner or maintain the stretch of highway in front of PNC, the athletes have a good time.

“We make everything fun,” explained junior outfielder Kyle Hernandez, an Elementary Education major. “We look forward to helping out.”

The team also participated in the “Play for Bryce” CCAC baseball benefit game while various Panther athletes helped out at the Sinai Forum speaking series, Red Cross blood drives, the PNC Barker Mansion holiday party, Chancellor’s Invitational Golf Outing, the Panther Pounce 5K/10K, created their very own Haunted Trail and have assisted with various Veteran’s activities.

On campus many athletes are called upon routinely to pick up the slack and are asked to volunteer where needed. These activities range from and include Career Fairs, or greeters at open houses for prospective students, they serve as team leaders at New Student Orientation and transport elderly and disabled family members at PNC commencement.

The student athletes agree that in the end, they truly enjoy giving their time and talents.

“People are always so welcoming to us. When we work with younger kids, they listen to us and are happy we’re there. We are fortunate to be in a position to help,” said senior catcher Alex May. “I am happy to give back when I have been given so much.”

“The Panther Pack realize that the individuals they help appreciate what they do,” said Albano.

PNC Presents a Halloween Haunted Trail

Purdue University North Central will feature a haunted trail will be on campus Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 from 7 to 10 p.m. each night. Admission is $10 per person. All proceeds will go directly back to PNC Athletics to support the fall, winter and spring programs.

The trail will be located in the wooded southeast corner of the Westville campus. The admission site will be located in parking lot 9, directly behind center field of the baseball field and in front of the North Central Veterinary Center, just off Center Drive.

The trail is all organic and self-made, built and planned by student-athletes from six PNC sports teams – baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, cross country and golf.

This is a walking trail and will take about 20 minutes to complete. The fear factor is moderate-medium so very small children should be cautioned and parents advised that it is very dark. There will be guides to help navigate the trail and admission. Popcorn, hot chocolate and cider will be available for purchase at the trail admission site.

PNC Offers Introductory Grant Writing Course

The Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning and the Office of Learning Technology, in partnership with Westville’s Independent Cat Society, will offer the four-session not-for-credit program, “Fund It: Introduction to Grant Writing” in November.

The program will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nov. 3, 5, 10 and 12 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the PNC campus. Registration is $249 and includes all materials. Special rates are available for PNC and Purdue Calumet students, alumni and employees. The registration deadline is Oct. 27 at 4 p.m.

“The world of grant writing can be a confusing one,” says Dr. Anastasia Trekles, clinical assistant professor of instructional technology and the director of Learning Technologies at Purdue University North Central, who is one of the program instructors. “This program will help individuals demystify the process and identify ways to get support for the programs and issues they are most passionate about.”

After participating in this four-session program, learners will be able to clearly identify and articulate their funding needs, locate agencies and foundations that may be able to fund those needs, develop a realistic, complete and focused grant proposal, and use storytelling techniques to  communicate their messages through social and digital media effectively.

“During this brief series, we will equip learners with a toolbox of strategies and techniques that will be useful in their workplaces and lives for years to come,” says Roberta Jocius, program instructor and grant coordinator for Westville’s Independent Cat Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare, located in Westville, Indiana. Part of the proceeds from this program will benefit the Independent Cat Society.

To register or obtain further information about this program or to register, visit or contact the PNC Office of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5343, or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact (219) 785-5748.

PNC Hosts Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America

Purdue University North Central will host the fall meeting of the Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America (INMAA) on Saturday, Oct.17, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will draw educators from throughout Indiana, Michigan and Illinois to share their research and to network with colleagues.

Dr. Alain Togbe, PNC professor of Mathematics, serves as the INMMAA section chair. The event organizers included Togbe, Dr. Gayla Domke, associate professor of Mathematics and Dr. Bir Kafle, assistant professor of Mathematics.

Invited speakers are Dr. Annalisa Crannell, of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn, who will present “In the Shadow of Desargues” and Dr. Kay Roebuck and Dr. Sheryl Stump, of Ball State University, who will discuss the common core and its fate in Indiana.

There will be an Indiana Project NExT Panel Session centering on “Effectively Incorporating Technology in the Classroom.”

Titles of the papers to be presented include, “Twenty-five years of the MAA student chapters,” “The convex hull of Markov distributions,” “Comparing sporting events,” “Why would anyone ever use portfolio assessment in a mathematics course?” “Examples for Green’s Theorem with discontinuous partial derivatives,” “A geometric interpretation of trigonometry,” “Jumping Cars: A game of discrete, dense, and continuous motions on a plane,” “Mathematics in a non-math course,” “Using Crazy Eights to teach programming and conjecture skills to math majors,” “Finding order in learning disorder: How to go the extra mile for the students that face learning challenges” and “A variational type method for solving nonlinear pseudo-differential equations.”

This year is the centennial anniversary of the MAA Indiana Section. The MMA strives to advance the mathematical sciences, especially at the collegiate level; helps to ensure that teachers are prepared to deliver mathematics instruction, particularly at the middle and high school levels and conducts outreach and programming to provide professional development opportunities and related efforts to strengthen mathematics instruction. It works at the federal level to increase funding for programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that address these issues.

Further information about the conference can be obtained by contacting Togbe at

Purdue Trustees Approve Academic Structuring for Purdue University Northwest

A plan to unify academic organizations of the emerging Purdue University Northwest into six colleges was approved on Friday (Oct. 9) by the Purdue University Board of Trustees.

Pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission, Purdue University Northwest will be established via the unification of Purdue University Calumet in Hammond and Purdue University North Central in Westville prior to the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

Purdue Northwest students will attend Calumet and North Central campuses, located 35 miles apart in northwest Indiana, and pursue baccalaureate and master’s degrees via programs offered within the following colleges:

* Business

* Engineering and Sciences

* Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

* Nursing

* Technology

There also will be an Honors College.

“We appreciate the board’s approval and commend the very hard work and thoughtfulness by the faculty of our two campuses in furthering this plan,” said Karen Schmid, North Central vice chancellor for academic affairs and Calumet interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost.

The new academic organization represents a reduction from 11 in the total number of colleges currently at Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central. Similarly, academic departments will be reduced from 29 to 16, with three schools.

The new structure of colleges includes the following departments and schools:

Business – Departments of Quantitative Business Studies and Managerial Studies and the White Lodging School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Engineering and Sciences – Departments of Biological Sciences; Chemistry and Physics; and Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, as well as Departments of Mechanical & Civil Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering organized within the School of Engineering.

Humanities, Education and Social Sciences – Departments of History and Philosophy; English; Political Science, Economics, and World Languages and Cultures; Behavioral Sciences; Communication and Creative Arts; and Psychology, as well as the School of Education and Counseling.

Nursing – no departments.

Technology – Departments of Construction Science and Organizational Leadership; Computer Information Technology & Graphics; and Engineering Technology.

As unified Calumet and North Central campuses, Purdue Northwest would become a university of some 15,000 students, fifth largest in Indiana. The emerging Purdue Northwest also is intended to provide enhanced opportunities for students in programs of study, a wider variety of shared online courses and more options for community engagement and professional development.


Media contacts:

Wes Lukoshus, Purdue Calumet assistant vice chancellor for marketing and communications, 219-989-2217,

Carol Connelly, Purdue North Central director of media and communication services, 219-785-5267,

PNC Staff Members Named as Award Finalists

Two Purdue University North Central staff members, Marie-Claire Foster, director of Advancement and Susan Brychell, special events manager, have been named as finalists for the 2015 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana award

The awards are presented in 11 categories to recognize the region’s female professionals for their influence in business, industries and the communities. More than 150 women from six different Indiana counties were nominated for recognition, with the field narrowed to 79 finalists. Nomination categories are Business, Construction, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Law, Marketing/Media, Non-Profit and Service/Tourism.

Awards will be announced Oct. 15.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Marie and Susan for achieving the distinction of being named as finalists for the Influential Women of Northwest Indiana award,” said Dr. James B. Dworkin, Purdue North Central chancellor. “Both are valued members of the PNC campus community and have proven themselves to be true campus and community leaders. Purdue University and Northwest Indiana benefit from the many contributions of these talented and dedicated professionals.”

Erica Dombey, president and executive director of the Regional Development Company and a 2012 Influential Women Alumni, said, “Each of these finalists have made incredible contributions to their industries. They’re bold individuals who have made their mark on businesses and communities across Northwest Indiana. We’re very proud to celebrate their achievements.”

Additionally, Foster was recently named to the “20 Under 40” list compiled by BusINess magazine, published by The Times Media Company.