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Purdue University Northwest now officially exists

The Higher Learning Commission has approved the creation of Purdue University Northwest, a merger between Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central.

Purdue University Northwest officially exists after the Higher Learning Commission approved the unification of Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central on Friday.

“This is a history-making day for all of us,” said James Dworkin, the Purdue North Central chancellor. “So many of our faculty, staff and students worked very hard to make this day possible. Purdue Northwest is a tremendous asset to Northwest Indiana. I am confident that Purdue Northwest will soon be considered a statewide leader in education, economic development and innovation.”

The Purdue branch campuses in Hammond and Westville are merging into what will become the fifth largest public university in the state. The Higher Learning Commission now recognizes Purdue University Northwest as an accredited degree-granting institution.

Students will be able to complete an entire degree at either campus without having to travel to the other, but the administration and sports teams will be merged. They will finish the spring semester as students of either Purdue Cal or PNC, but will all be Purdue Northwest students when classes resume in the fall.

“Unifying two Purdue regional campuses into one unparalleled Purdue University Northwest enables us to combine and allocate resources in ways that strengthen academic programs; benefit students, faculty and staff; increase institutional value; and expand opportunities for economic growth and development across Northwest Indiana,” said Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas Keon, who will serve as chancellor of Purdue Northwest.

“Satisfying the many components of our PNW unification process has been laborious and challenging, but thanks to the hard work and commitment by faculty and staff of both our campuses, we are excited to move forward as Purdue University Northwest.”

Dworkin, who’s run Purdue North Central since 2000, will remain as chancellor through June 30, take a sabbatical and then return to serve as a professor in the Krannert School of Management in West Lafayette.

The new university will have 15,000 students, 1,500 faculty and staff members, and 51,000 living alumni, which the university says will enhance the value of a Purdue degree. The new university will offer more academic programs and more shared online courses.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.