Friday, February 3rd, 2012 - 10:05 am

Purdue Calumet 2011 year in review

A change of leadership, the opening of two cutting edge academic and outreach facilities on campus, and expansion of its dual credit program highlighted 2011 at Purdue University Calumet.

Change of chancellors

After an achievement-filled 10 years, Howard Cohen stepped down as chancellor, handing the torch at mid-year to successor Thomas Keon.

Howard Cohen
Howard Cohen

Cohen’s 10-year administration featured the initiation of experiential learning—integrating traditional and applied learning in a real world environment—as a requirement for all degree-seeking, undergraduate students. He also oversaw strategies to attract more high performing students, the addition of campus-based student housing, establishment of applied research-based outreach centers and institutes to advance northwest Indiana and beyond, and implementation of more than 40 new academic degree programs and options in response to regional needs.

“I know of no better indicators of quality than (1) great students want to study with us and (2) employers seek out our graduates,” Cohen offered in one of his final messages as chancellor. “By these measures, I am pleased with our progress over the past 10 years and look forward to continuing improvement and growing quality at Purdue Calumet.”

Chancellor Thomas L. Keon
Chancellor Thomas L. Keon

Armed with demonstrated leadership skills and strategic planning expertise, Keon has picked up where Cohen left off. Previously dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida for 14 years, Keon has spent his first six months as chancellor preparing to shape Purdue Calumet’s future via attention to four goals: 1. Academic Excellence, 2. Learning through Engagement and Discovery, 3. Inclusivity, and 4. Community and Business Partnerships.

“I am excited to be at Purdue Calumet and look forward to the changing and advancing opportunities before us,” Keon said. “We will continue to emphasize the quality of our students and the academic instruction we provide them. Through commitment to our four goals, Purdue Calumet will persist as a university of regional prominence and influence.”

Innovation, visualization, hospitality and more

Two cutting edge, academic and outreach campus facilities—the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) and the Hospitality and Tourism Management Building, which houses the Purdue University Calumet White Lodging Center for Hospitality and Tourism Management—opened this fall.

The $2.7 million CIVS provides welcome expansion and increased capability from its previous campus home. Focusing on innovation, application and education, CIVS combines simulation and visualization technologies with high performance computing to solve challenging problems affecting business, industry and society.

New Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) Theater
New Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) Theater

The new, 6,300 square feet, multi-disciplinary research center, an expansion to the Powers Education Building, features simulation and visualization laboratories, an immersive theater for advance research projects and 3-D virtual classroom instruction. The facility allows users to immerse themselves in a virtual reality environment by using models that provide real world visualization and understanding of any structure, system or phenomenon being studied.

By applying CIVS resources, students learn experientially while assisting faculty and staff to help industries increase production, improve quality and reduce costs.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Building Exterior
Hospitality and Tourism Management Building Exterior

The Hospitality and Tourism Management Building represents a $4.6 million renovation of Purdue Calumet’s former Calumet Conference Center at the south end of campus. The 13,000 square feet, innovative learning facility is supported by the largest monetary gift in university history: $5 million from the Dean & Barbara White and Bruce and Beth White Family Foundations.

Designed to prepare up to 400 students for careers as leaders in the diverse, hospitality industry, the facility includes a wine and beverage bar, computer simulation lab, foods & nutrition lab, commercial/teaching kitchen, dining room and two multi-media-equipped classrooms.

Dual credit partnership with Lake Central HS introduced

Purdue Calumet expanded its dual credit program to enable qualified Lake Central High School juniors and seniors to enroll in specified courses and earn both university and high school credit beginning this fall.

Three-credit, Purdue Calumet courses in English Composition, sociology and political science are being offered at Lake Central and taught by LC faculty, utilizing the same curricula and syllabi as courses taught at Purdue Calumet. The program is similar to one initiated in 2009 at Crown Point High School involving Purdue Calumet and Indiana University Northwest.


  • Fall enrollment of 9,786 included the largest number of international students to attend Purdue Calumet: 646.
  • Nearly 1,500 Purdue degrees—associate, baccalaureate and master’s—were conferred to Purdue Calumet graduates in 2011, increasing to more than 45,000 the number of total Purdue degrees awarded at Purdue Calumet.
  • A team of five management students tied for the top ranking last fall in a world-wide, online, simulated business competition involving 4,247 teams from 288 colleges and universities. Students Mary A. Gross of Valparaiso, Sarah Moen (Hobart), David Ramsey (Hammond), Aaron Shultz (St. John) and Allauddin Abdulghani (Glendale Heights, Ill.) collaborated in The Business Strategy Game, published and marketed by McGraw-Hill/Irwin, to achieve a perfect score in overall performance relative to managing their virtual shoe company, Team Amazing Shoes.
  • For the second consecutive year, management and communication students enrolled in the Advertising Campaigns experiential learning class were finalists in the National Student Advertising Competition. This year’s competition called for teams of college/university student participants to develop a $100 million integrated marketing campaign for retailer JC Penney Company and its more than 1,100 department stores. Participating students included Jennifer Muha of Gary, Lori Korda (Schererville), Samantha Bartucci (Steger, Ill.), Xiomara Vega (Merrillville), Dale Fieldhouse (Munster), Stephanie Gianopolus (Dyer), Louie Meneghin (Dyer), Don Pesavento (Schererville), Michelle Moore (Valparaiso), Sara Pingleton (Dyer), Barbara Possas (Hammond), Marceau Willis (Highland), Nick Moredich (Dyer), Letticia Almaguer (Dyer) and Samat Mavziutov (Chicago). Instructor Matt Hanson taught the class.
  • A team of Purdue Calumet engineering and technology students placed fifth nationally—the best finish in university history—in the College Division of last spring’s 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. The competition challenges participants to design, build and race a moonbuggy, a lightweight, human-powered vehicle similar to the Apollo lunar rovers developed by NASA four decades ago for use by U.S. astronauts during moon exploration trips. Purdue Calumet participants were Mark Bauman of Goshen, Kudjo Achem (Chicago/Ghana), Margaret Knutsen (St. John) and Benjamin Moul (Hart, Mich.).
    Students Mark Bauman and Margaret Knutsen on the Moonbuggy
    Students Mark Bauman and Margaret Knutsen on the Moonbuggy
  • Communication students also excelled in award-winning fashion.

–Fall semester 2010 script writing students Karina Gonzalez Estrada of Crown Point, Anthony Hirschenberger (St. John), Alan McCafferty (Hammond), Daniel Reid (Schererville) and group leader Justyna Syska (Schererville) took first place in the 2011 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) International Student Script Writing Competition in the TV Spec category. Their recognition came for a one-hour, pseudo script episode of the SHOWTIME cable series, “Dexter.”

–Another group of students and recent graduates produced the documentary, “Checkmate,” about a potential dark side of Internet technology that received two Gold Empixx Awards. Playing key roles in the production were Joe Wielosinski of Burnham, Ill., Kaitlin Craig (Highland), Kimberly Lindsey (Highland) and Donald P. Gadberry (Griffith). Associate Professor of Communication Mary Beth O’Connor instructed both student groups.

  • Recent marriage and family therapy master’s degree program graduate Jessica Fish of Sterling Heights, Mich. earned the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Completed Thesis Award, representative of the top marriage and family therapy master’s thesis nationally. Sharde McNeil (Merrillville) received the Indiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Student Research Award for the top marriage and family therapy thesis/dissertation in Indiana.
  • Some 174 students representing all six of Purdue Calumet academic schools presented 128 research projects during the university’s Student Research Days on campus last spring.
  • The oldest student in Purdue Calumet history—91-year-old Edgar Spikes of East Chicago—earned a university Certificate in Computer Networking this spring.


Professor Yahya Kamalipour
  • Professor and Head of the Dept. of Communication and Creative Arts Yahya Kamalipour edited his 14th published book—Media, Power, and Politics in the Digital Age: The 2009 Presidential Election Uprising in Iran—which offers world-wide perspectives about the controversial, 2009 Iranian demonstrations.
  • LU (right) with student Joann Holmen
    LU (right) with student Joann Holmen
    Professor of French Jin Lu was selected 2011 State of Indiana French Teacher of the Year at the Collegiate Level at the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association Conference.
  • Purdue Calumet’s Outstanding Faculty Award winners for 2010-11 are: Professor of Mechanical Engineering Harvey Abramowitz (Teacher), Assistant Professor of Electrical/Computing Engineering Bin Chenn (Scholar), Professor of Mechanical Engineering/Honors Program Director Bipin Pai (Service) and Professor of Psychology Thomas Pavkov (Sponsored Research).
    Professor Harvey Abramowitz
    Professor Bin Chenn
    Professor Bipin Pai
    Professor Tom Pavkov
  • Professor Clement Stacy


    OBIT: Professor Emeritus of English Clement Stacy, who taught at Purdue Calumet for 40 years, died Nov. 1.


  • Trouble shooting problems that is enabling U.S. Steel Canada to avoid $8.5 million in projected annual expenses and NIPSCO’s Bailly Generating Station $1.9 million are examples of how Purdue Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Stimulation has benefited industry during 2011.
  • Purdue Calumet Water Institute researchers, partnering with those of Argonne National Laboratory identified promising technologies and potential treatment alternatives that could be used by area industries to reduce mercury and other metals discharged into the Great Lakes. The Water Institute and Argonne have been collaborating since 2007 on a project funded by BP to explore and test emerging technologies and approaches for improving wastewater treatment options.
  • Last spring, Purdue Calumet hosted the finals of the Indiana Science Olympiad, which featured many of Indiana’s top middle school and high school science students.
  • Purdue Calumet and its Center for Entrepreneurship Success initiated The Big Sell Entrepreneurs in Action Competition, which attracted innovative start-up business ideas nationwide and the opportunity to share $30,000 in cash, prizes and office space for one year to implement their business.

Other recognitions

  • Fortune magazine included Purdue Calumet’s MBA for Executives (MBAE) program on its list of executive MBA offerings considered among the nation’s best values.
  • University Business magazine recognized Purdue Calumet as a Models of Efficiency program honoree for installing in campus building restrooms high speed hand dryers that are cutting paper towel and related labor expenses annually of some $32,000.
  • Purdue Calumet received the Building Residence Hall Association of the Year award at this year’s National Association of College and University Residence Halls, Inc.


  • Purdue Calumet and the city of Hammond announced last spring a partnership to develop an outdoor sports complex that will serve the university’s growing athletics program and city activities. Plans call for a six-court tennis facility, lighted soccer field, and baseball and softball fields of natural surfaces to be developed in phases, subject to available funding, in nearby Dowling Park.
  • Consistent with Chancellor Keon’s vision to increase the profile of Purdue Calumet’s intercollegiate athletics program, the university has initiated a national search for an athletic director to succeed Robert Bunnell, who resigned in August. The new A.D. will report directly to Keon.

Purdue Calumet’s 2010-11 men’s basketball team, coached by Dan Voudrie, received the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s inaugural Champions of Character Team award. The award honors the conference team that best demonstrates the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA) core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship.

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