Hammond awards $100,000 for business incubator endowed professorship

Continuing a partnership that furthers economic development, the City of Hammond has awarded $100,000 to Purdue University Calumet to support an endowed professorship that provides leadership for the recently-established Hammond Business Incubator Program.

The gift is being matched by a $400,000 award from the Lilly Endowment Program to create the Thomas McDermott Sr. Professorship of Economic Development. The Lilly Endowment Program has pledged to match each $100,000 endowed professorship gift that Purdue Calumet receives, ultimately, to create five, $500,000 endowed professorships to provide leadership in advancing Northwest Indiana’s economy. This gift supports the university’s fourth endowed professorship.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. (seated right) and former Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Sr. (seated left) finalize terms of an endowed Purdue University Calumet professorship, named after the latter and established by the City of Hammond to advance economic development. Also pictured (standing from left) are Purdue Calumet Vice Chancellor for Advancement Judith Kaufman and University Chancellor Howard Cohen.


The Thomas McDermott Sr. Professor of Economic Development, whose namesake has been a regional economic development leader and former Hammond mayor, will be a tenured faculty member of Purdue Calumet’s School of Management. This professor will focus on attracting new businesses to Hammond, while helping nurture them with services provided through the Hammond Business Incubator.

“Economic development is important to our success as a university and the future of Hammond,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Howard Cohen said. “As an economic development visionary and former mayor, Tom McDermott Sr. has been a loyal supporter of Purdue Calumet. This generous gift, for which we are most appreciative, enables both Purdue Calumet and the City of Hammond to be proactive with an initiative that has important, long term implications to our university and city.”

The endowed professorship will serve as a link between the Hammond Business Incubator Program and Purdue Calumet faculty and students within the School of Management. Through applied faculty research activities and student internships, Purdue Calumet attempts to help increase opportunities for economic growth by being a resource for new businesses.

“I am honored and humbled to be the namesake of this endowed professorship,” McDermott Sr. said. “This gesture is the culmination of both a dream, in terms of what the incubator will mean to the City of Hammond, and the reality of how the ever-strengthening Purdue Calumet-Hammond partnership positively affects the lives of so many.”

Added current Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., “Purdue University Calumet is a respected, trusted partner in the City of Hammond’s economic development vision. The Hammond Business Incubator figures prominently in that vision. Endowing this professorship is an investment in the wide-reaching expertise Purdue Calumet brings to a program that stands to benefit the city and university alike.”