When Russell Wilk, of Chesterton, earned his Purdue degree during the Purdue University North Central commencement ceremony in May, he had the distinction of addressing his fellow graduates as part of the commencement ceremony.
“It was an absolute honor to be selected to represent my graduating class,” said Wilk. “Each and every individual graduating has poured his or her heart into their respective degree and I hope I can do their individual work justice through my student response.”
Wilk was selected to speak to the graduates and their guests based on his academic achievements, as well as his campus and community activities. As a Communication major, he was used to speaking in public, but nothing could really have prepared him for the experience of addressing the hundreds of people assembled for the commencement ceremony.
Today, he is ready to start a career in the communication or public relations fields. His ideal job would be to work for a professional hockey team. But he does admit that he would be happy working in a position “where I can grow as an individual while growing with the organization.”
Wilk clearly enjoyed his PNC experience and made the most of the opportunities presented. When asked his favorite PNC experiences, he quickly responded, “all of my Communication coursework.” And when asked if any faculty members inspired him, he replied, “the entire Communication Department. All of the professors go out of their way to help you each and every day.”
He found his classes interesting and inspiring and that was reflected in his grades. Wilk earned a spot on the Chancellor’s List all eight semesters and he qualified for membership in Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honor society of the National Communication Association.
He was also a member of the American Sign Language Club and volunteered with the Safe Harbor after-school program in Michigan City.
One of the highlights of his PNC experience was presenting his paper, “Marshall McLuhan on the Cell Phone: What the Communication Theorist Would have Likely Said,” and the Clement S. Stacy Undergraduate Research Conference.
Keeping a full schedule of classes, earning top grades and maintaining his social and community activities was possible thanks to his maintaining three basic tenets: “Understand what you put into something is exactly what you’re going to get back; realize when to work and not play and plan ahead,” explained Wilk.
Now that he has earned his degree, Wilk has been able to reflect on his Purdue North Central experience.
“You’re and individual at PNC. Students can receive is a lot of individual attention from their professors at PNC,” he said. “You can earn a Purdue degree in an extremely convenient location. It is a great formula for success. It is easy for students to get involved with campus life at PNC and make an impact.”