GARY | Indiana University Northwest graduates shared their pride during commencement Thursday at the Genesis Convention Center.
"Today's ceremony is brief compared with the years of diligent effort that all candidates have invested in their education," Indiana University President Michael McRobbie said.
Nearly 500 graduates of the 812 who were conferred degrees took part in the ceremony.
IUN Chancellor Bruce Bergland, in his final commencement before retirement, encouraged graduates to live up to their dreams and expectations.
"Today, our graduates reflect on all they have learned and all they have accomplished as students of Indiana University Northwest," he said. "Tomorrow, they begin living their futures, futures made possible by their IU education."
Hobart resident Jeff Renn graduated with a master's degree in business administration. He attended IUN over the past four years while balancing a full-time job and starting a family.
"I'm ecstatic because two or three years ago I said I'm finishing this process no matter how much longer it takes," he said.
Renn, a program director at the Hobart Family YMCA, received his bachelor's degree from IUN in 2006.
"I'm so thankful to be here," he said.
Derek Lusk, of Cedar Lake, also received his master's in business administration and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.
"I started here in 2007 and worked full time during the process," he said. "It's been a long road and I'm excited. It's awesome."
During his charge to the class, McRobbie quoted Cornell University President Emeritus Frank Rhodes, who wrote that "the university is the creator, the conservator and the mediator of knowledge."
Among the graduates was Amy Kordeck, an alumna of Boone Grove High School who became the first student to graduate with a four-year anthropology degree from IUN.
McRobbie told the graduates they were far more than keepers of knowledge.
"Each of you has helped shape different worlds of knowledge as you have made your own great investments in your future here at IU Northwest."