MERRILLVILLE | Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. told Purdue Calumet graduates Tuesday that his time at the university must be close to what they experienced.
McDermott, who graduated from Purdue Calumet in fall of 1996, was a commencement speaker at the university's winter graduation ceremonies Tuesday at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.
McDermott became a PUC student after six years in the Navy, he said. He was a married father of two who worked full time when he went to school.
“You work all day, go to school at night. And then on the weekend you have the pleasure of catching up on your schoolwork. That is dedication,” he said. “That is discipline, which you will take with you in life.”
Purdue awarded advanced degrees in the arts, business administration, engineering, the sciences and education, as well as a host of baccalaureate and associate degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates. Honors and honors medallion graduates also were recognized.
As parents held up flower bouquets and cellphones and shouted their cheers, the graduates filed on and off the Star Plaza stage to receive their diplomas. The Clarion Brass quintet played, the Purdue Calumet Vocal Club sang, and the graduates walked into the theater to the tune of the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.”
McDermott joined PUC professor Fen Song-Wang, PUC Chancellor Thomas McKeon and Purdue University West Lafayette Provost Victor Lechtenberg on the podium. McDermott said the emphasis should be on the graduates, given their achievements.
McDermott remembered how, after his graduation from the University of Notre Dame Law School, so many of his classmates were going to faraway places.
He stayed in the region and he appreciates “those of you who will be returning to your communities to give back," he said, adding he “would not be (where I am) today, were it not for Purdue Calumet.”