Munster father & daughter continue family tradition of Purdue graduates

Military retiree Corrie Frank is seeking a new career, so he pursued a Master of Business Administration degree in Purdue University Calumet’s Saturday MBA for Executives program.

His daughter, Kelly, 23, looks forward to beginning her career in the hotel industry and anticipates her pending baccalaureate degree in hospitality and tourism will help her get there.

When they graduate together during Purdue Calumet Commencement Exercises Sunday (5/20) afternoon at the Radisson Star Plaza Theater in Merrillville, they will add a collective exclamation point to what has been a proud family of Purdue students and alumni.

Eldest daughter, Stacy, 27, graduated from Purdue Calumet in marketing and works for White Lodging in Merrillville. Second daughter Stephanie, 25, earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. Recently re-enlisted in the National Guard, she also is employed by Dow Chemical. The fourth and final Frank daughter, Carrie, 20, completed her sophomore year this spring at Purdue West Lafayette.

The matriarch of the Munster family and Corrie’s wife of 35 years, Sharon, manages a trucking business.

Trucking, by his own admission, is not Corrie’s thing; hence, the former 20-year marine and reservist has decided he wants to go a different direction and is hopeful his MBAE will run interference for him.

“I want to be part of a decision-making team,” the 56-year-old Lansing, Ill. native said. “I have an undergraduate degree in finance, and when I was in the service, I did military contracts. I always wanted to get an MBA, so I went to an MBAE open house at Purdue Calumet. I was impressed that the professors are more concerned about you learning the material than the grades you earn. Having a facility in our area like Purdue Calumet is a huge plus.”

One of his MBAE instructors, Professor of Finance C. Pat Obi, refers to Corrie as one who “showed the type of trepidation and skepticism common with most non-traditional students. But unlike many students who succumb to the complexity of the course work, he was resolute in his efforts to master the material. He worked exceedingly hard, asked questions frequently, visited my office on countless occasions, and showed exemplary persistence to not just do well on the weekly assignments, but, more importantly, understand how the concepts can be applied in the real world.”

Kelly transferred to Purdue Calumet from a down state university after changing majors. She has complemented her studies by working a part-time job at a local restaurant when she’s not doing search and rescue safety duty on Lake Michigan as a Coast Guard reservist.

“It seems like whenever we get calls it’s never in calm weather,” she said.

Her decision to attend Purdue Calumet has been a good one, she added, as has her choice of academic study.

“There were fewer distractions, and I like interacting with people,” she said. “The HTM program is hard, but you learn a lot.”

One of her professors, Michael Flannery, head of Purdue Calumet’s HTM program, applauds her “great hospitality attitude. We all think she will be very successful in her career,” he said.

As the Franks look forward to celebrating Corrie’s and Kelly’s graduation, it is unclear whether they will drive to Commencement Exercises in Corrie’s vintage, powder blue 1973 440 GTX Plymouth Road Runner—a vehicle he purchased in 1974, eventually sold, rediscovered 30 years later and repurchased.

“I took my wife to our high school prom in that car, and three of my daughters rode in it to their proms,” he said, “although I’m not sure how that relates to earning a Purdue degree.”

Persistence, perhaps, and possibly, paying attention.