Keon chosen as chancellor-designate of Purdue University Northwest

Chancellor Keon


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Thomas Keon will be the chancellor when Purdue University Northwest officially comes into existence on July 1, 2016, the result of the unification of Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central.

The announcement was made Friday (Nov. 20) by Purdue President Mitch Daniels and search committee chair Gary Lehman, a Purdue trustee.

“Today, we take another important step in building a great new economic and educational asset in northwest Indiana,” Daniels said. “No one, starting with Tom, underestimates the difficulty of bringing together two campuses, their faculty and staff, but we are confident in the tremendous potential for cultural and commercial enrichment in the region. Chancellor Keon has an extraordinary opportunity to lead what will be the fifth largest public university in Indiana and one that will have positive impact on students and businesses for years to come.”

Keon has been chancellor of Purdue Calumet since 2011. James Dworkin, who has served as chancellor of Purdue North Central since 2000, will remain in his position through June 30, 2016. Dworkin will continue working with Keon on a smooth transition as they have since 2014. After a sabbatical year, Dworkin will return to Purdue’s West Lafayette campus in fall 2017 as a full professor in Krannert School of Management, where he began his Purdue career in 1976.

“I am extremely humbled and extremely excited to take on this enormous responsibility,” Keon said. “I am mindful of the very difficult work that is ahead and completely committed to the task of building and cementing relationships that will ultimately lead to the success of our campuses and community. I also want to offer my sincere thanks to Jim Dworkin for his always wise counsel and to the campuses and northwest Indiana community for the collaborative efforts that will lead to the success of this new institution.”

Once unification is complete, Purdue Northwest will be a comprehensive university enrolling approximately 16,000 students, employing more than 1,500 faculty and staff, and offering more than 45 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on two campuses. The two campus locations will be respectively identified as Purdue University Northwest-Calumet and Purdue University Northwest-North Central. The unification is pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission.

The chancellor-designate will be responsible for working with stakeholders from the two existing campuses to advance academic quality, student success and affordability. He also will be charged with meeting with local employers and community leaders to ensure that the new institution is meeting the needs of the regional economy.

Purdue trustees approved the creation of Purdue University Northwest in July 2014, reflecting the university’s commitment to finding administrative cost savings and promoting student affordability and accessibility. A website with updates on the integration process is available at

Learn more about Chancellor-Designate Thomas Keon

Media contacts:

Wes Lukoshus, 219-989-2217,

Carol Connelly, 219-785-5267,




PNC and Calumet Students Attend Honors Conference

A group of honors students from Purdue University North Central and Purdue University Calumet recently attended the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference in Chicago.

PNC students Eileen Long and Alexis Ulrich, both English majors, and Stefanie Nanney, a psychology major, presented their research at this conference

PNC Honors Program president Rachel Kunnen, vice president Matt Variot and Honors Program members Zach Zromkoski, attended sessions that gave them ideas for developing the Purdue University Northwest Honors College. Sessions covered topics that included drama, poetry, music and film.

The conference presented the ideal opportunity for the PNC and Calumet students to meet their peers from across the globe to present research, discuss their interests and to gather ideas that they could use for their Honors Program and the future PNW Honors College. They also attended a roundtable discussion on the Purdue Calumet Peer Mentoring program and an idea exchange on the use of the Team App.

“Attending the NCHC was eye opening,” said Kunnen. “This was my first time attending and after being a part of the various seminars, I realized that other schools were facing the same problems our own program has been dealing with. After hearing other students talk about their new ideas, I was inspired to try as many new things with our program as was possible and make the program better than it already is.”

To learn more about the PNC Honors Program, visit

PNC Marketing Students Impact the Community

Members of the PNC Principles of Marketing class visit Family Express as part of their learning experience.

Members of the PNC Principles of Marketing class visit Family Express as part of their learning experience.

The Purdue University North Central undergraduate marketing students are partnering with the local community to learn effective marketing strategies.

Throughout the fall semester, students in the Principles of Marketing class are learning about marketing techniques including advertising, public relations, social media marketing and strategies. This learning experience has included presentations by organizations and businesses in the Valparaiso area.

Rex Richards, president of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development presented the chamber’s successful marketing campaigns and explained how market research fueled these programs. “I found the students extremely engaged,” said Richards. “The questions the class members asked were quite advanced. I was very impressed with their technical knowledge of the subject matter. ”

John Seibert and Barbie Johnson, of the Valparaiso Parks and Recreation Department, met the class at the Urschel Pavilion to explain how the department’s strategies and relationship-building create strong partnerships with the Valparaiso community.

“It was a privilege to meet with the class to discuss Valpo Park’s marketing strategies,” said John Seibert, director of Parks and Recreation. “We shared our team’s efforts to best serve our unique and diverse customers, and in turn, learned student insights, questions and comments.”

The class also visited with Joe Battistoni, digital advertising director and Jim Pellegrini, marketing manager at The Times Media Company, to talk about advertising and integrated marketing communications.

“At The Times, we see the tremendous benefits of collaborating together and we look forward to expanding on this type of opportunity in the future,” said Debbie Anselm, general manager and vice president of sales and marketing.

“This hands-on learning matters,” said PNC student Adrian Aguirre. “The best way for us to learn marketing is to network with marketers.”

The group also met with the marketing team at Family Express and Chris Mahlmann from Ideas in Motion, who presented real-world lessons to complement the marketing lessons learned in the traditional classroom.

The knowledge that the students gather in class and from these community leaders will ultimately be put to work as the students build a marketing plan for the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City.

“These PNC students are a conduit for transferring effective marketing strategies from these successful organizations to aiding a nonprofit agency that is building its brand presence,” says Marie Foster, PNC director of Advancement, who teaches the class. “By creating marketing plans from information learned in the classroom, in the community and through market research, these students will be able to make a positive change in Northwest Indiana.”

Student Mark Jozaitis echoed that sentiment. “We have been given a unique experience to meet with some of the best business minds in our area. They gave us guidance for creating a marketing strategy for the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City. It has been a phenomenal experience to enhance our marketing skills and create positive change for the club, I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Brandi Lewis, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City expressed her appreciation.  “We are fortunate to work with a Purdue North Central marketing class to develop the perfect marketing plan for Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City. As the new executive director, I am constantly looking for innovative ways to tell our club’s story and make sure everyone knows who we are, what we do and just why it’s important to our community. Working with a well-respected educational institution and with students who are knowledgeable about marketing strategies and our community, makes this collaboration even more exciting. I’m confident the students will develop strategies we can implement for years to come. I’m looking forward to seeing their vision for taking Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City into the future.”

PNC Earns 2015 “Military Friendly” Distinction

Purdue University North Central has been named to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools® list for the third consecutive year, as compiled by Victory Media Inc. The 2015 Military Friendly Schools® list honors the nation’s top colleges, universities and trade schools that welcome America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

Victory Media notes that up to 400,000 service members leave military service each year and more than a third attend college after separation.

“At Purdue North Central, we welcome all active military members, veterans, their spouses and families,” said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. “Purdue North Central traces its history back to the days following World War II. Its mission was to serve the educational needs of the returning soldiers. We continue to work hard to maintain that commitment. We pride ourselves as being a veteran-friendly campus.”

PNC has implemented a number of initiatives to help aid military members and veterans to become successful PNC students. They include:

  • Priority Registration.
  • Fee Deferment for registered students certified as eligible for GI Bill educational benefits.
  • Campus activities include an annual Veterans Day ceremony and Veterans Awareness Month activities in April.
  • The Leonard J. Brown Veterans Center in Library Student Faculty Building, Room 67, offers PNC student-veterans a place to study, socialize and hold group and individual meetings. The family of Leonard J. Brown, who served as a Tec 4 in the 474th Infantry Regiment from July 28, 1944 to April 15, 1946, has generously supported the PNC Veterans Center.
  • PNC offers a Veterans Coordinator to serve as a resource to all students who are veterans or active military members. The Coordinator provides veteran-to-veteran support during the transition from military life to university life.
  • PNC offers free CLEP testing to military vets. PNC accepts CLEP credit and provides eight hours of military credit that can be applied toward a degree. Additionally, veterans have the opportunity to apply for department credit based upon their individual transcript.
  • PNC offers trained support staff to assist veterans and military members through the registration process.

Information about all services available to service members, veterans and their families can be found at

The Military Friendly Schools® media and website can be accessed at It features the complete Military Friendly Schools® list and other interactive tools.

Further information about the educational opportunities at Purdue North Central is available at or by calling 219-785-5505.

PNC, Library Present Screening of “Mr. Holmes”

The movie “Mr. Holmes” will be shown on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Michigan City Public Library, 100 E. Fourth St. in Michigan City, through a collaboration between Purdue University North Central’s Odyssey Arts and Cultural Events Series and Michigan City Public Library. The showing is free and open to the public. The movie is rated PG.

“Mr. Holmes” is an adaptation of the Mitch Cullin 2005 novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind.” It stars Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes; Laura Linney as Mrs. Munro and Milo Parker as her son Roger. The film is a look at the genius detective in his old age as he spends his days in his country home, living quietly with his cook, Mrs. Monro and her son, Roger. At age 93, Holmes is working hard to restore his slipping mind. He desperately wants to solve one case that has been perplexing him for years.

The films weaves between decades and continents as it follows Holmes and threads stories within stories.

“Variety” magazines describes McKellen as “predictably superb as Holmes” and Linney as “beautifully understated.” It terms “the filmmaking itself as among director Bill Condon’s most elegant.”

The Purdue University North Central Odyssey Arts and Cultural Events Series features various events throughout the year. A complete schedule of university events can be found at For more information about this film, or any event in the Odyssey series, contact Judy Jacobi, PNC assistant vice chancellor of Marketing and Campus Relations, at 219-785-5593. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Jacobi.

PNC Hosts Chemistry Week Activities

The Purdue University North Central College of Science recently welcomed students from Barker Middle School in Michigan City, to participate in a variety of activities to mark National Chemistry Week.

Dr. Jessica Thomas, PNC assistant professor of Chemistry, coordinated a number of experiments, demonstrations and experiences to expose the seventh graders to many aspects of chemistry and show how chemistry is a part of everyday life.

The concepts that Barker students learned included:

Chromatography: The students learned that black ink isn’t always just black ink. By separating the dyes that make it up.

Flame tests: revealed the various metals that are used in fireworks to give them their colors.

How do we know what elements are in the stars?  Students viewed and analyzed the spectra from different gases and light sources.

Cabbage Juice Indicator: Showed how to tell if something is acidic or basic without tasting it.

Precipitation reactions: How two clear colorless liquids mix together to make a colorful solid.

They also learned the concepts behind disappearing ink, how to “electrocute a pickle and telling time using the PNC sundial.

Assisting with the day’s events were the PNC College of Science Student Ambassadors; Dr. Aaron Warren, associate professor of Physics; Dr. Laura Unger, associate professor of Chemistry and Dr. Barreto, associate professor of Chemistry.

PNC Staff Members Earn Influential Women Honors

Susan Brychell, Purdue University North Central special events manager, has earned the 2015 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana award in the Marketing/Media category.

In addition, Marie-Claire Foster, director of Advancement, was a finalist in the area of Education – Up and Coming.

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.

Brychell has been with PNC for 10 years, serving most of that time as director of Porter County. She became manager of Special Events in September.

Susan Brychell

“I am honored beyond words to have won this special award,” said Brychell. “There were so many impressive, intelligent women nominated who inspire every day. I give credit to Purdue North Central for allowing me to have the creativity and freedom to be so involved in the community and in my job.”

Brychell is a member of the board of directors of Valparaiso Events; Inspired Living Magazine and the

Kiwanis Foundation. She is president of the Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis Club. She is a member of Tri Kappa and the Portage Chamber Business Opportunity Night committee, is a 10-year co-chair for the Mayor’s Charity Event, and teaches etiquette to PNC students and to the business community. She was a Valparaiso YMCA Volunteer of the Year nominee and earned Kiwanis Club Volunteer of the Year Award Honorable Mention.

Her pageant honors include Miss Indiana Teen, Purdue Grand Prix Queen, Miss Indiana USA and Indiana Rose Queen. She worked for Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization and continues to help young women prepare for the pageant experience.

Marie FosterFoster is a member of Tri Kappa and Valparaiso Rotary and serves on boards for the Memorial Opera House, Lubeznik Center for the Arts and the PNC Sinai Forum Advisory Board. She previously was a member of St. Mary’s Pastoral Council.

“It was an honor to have been chosen as a finalist,.” Said Foster. “Northwest Indiana benefits from the involvement of so many influential women and I am proud to be part of this group. The character and strength of these finalists and winners show the potential we have in continuing to enhance our region.”

She earned her MBA from Purdue University and was awarded the 2015 MBA Student of the Year and served on the MBA Leadership Board. She was recently named to the “20 Under 40” list compiled by “BusINess” magazine. She has experience in business and higher education focusing on marketing, graphic design, business strategy, communication, social media, fundraising and agile project management. She has been involved in education at the secondary and college levels implementing innovative curricula involving community relationships to drive student success.

PNC Students Plan Disaster Preparedness Fair

Purdue University North Central Community Health Nursing students, in partnership with Franciscan St. Anthony Health, will present a Disaster Preparedness Fair on Tuesday Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Franciscan St. Anthony Health St. Francis Hall, 301 W. Homer St., Michigan City. The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.

The fair is intended to generate awareness for all age groups for community preparedness in disaster situations that may occur in our area. Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about how to best prepare for disasters and what resources are available. Free disaster preparedness booklets will be available.

Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy games, snacks, raffles and pick up free gifts.

Event sponsors include the LaPorte County Emergency Management, LaPorte County Health Department; LaPorte County Haz Mat and Purdue University North Central Department of Nursing.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Peggy Rose, PNC associate professor of Nursing, at (219)785-5706 or

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