Chancellor Timeline

Millard Gyte, Chancellor of Purdue Calumet from 1947-1958

1947-1958 – Millard Gyte, Director

Gyte, as the first director of Purdue University’s “Calumet Extension”, single-handedly took on the difficult task of providing the school with its foundation. Securing a home for Calumet, starting a university faculty, and initiating a campus newspaper are among his many notable accomplishments.”Mr. PUC” passed away in July 1958.

Carl Elliot was the Chancellor from 1958-1974

1958-1974 – Carl Elliott, Director and Dean; Chancellor

Elliott served Calumet for fifteen years: first as director, later as a director and dean, and finally, as its first chancellor in 1974; the year Calumet was autonomized. He contributed greatly to Calumet’s growth during the years that nationwide unrest was experienced throughout many universities.

Richard Combs was Chancellor of Purdue Calumet from 1975-1990

1975-1990 – Richard J. Combs, Chancellor

Combs is credited with guiding Calumet from its adolescent stage well into maturity. Under his supervision, enrollment increased to over eight thousand students, the faculty nearly doubled, infrastructure was enhanced, and the activities offered to students were extended and diversified. It was he who persuaded the trustees to rename the campus Purdue University, Calumet. Combs stayed with Calumet until his retirement in 1990.

James Yackel, Chancellor of Purdue Calumet from 1990-2001

1990-2001 – James Yackel, Chancellor

Yackel’s leadership was said to have prepared Calumet in such a way that it would make an invaluable contribution to how Northwest Indiana encountered the challenges of the 21st century. During his 10 year presence as chancellor, enrollment witnessed a ten percent surge, student scholarship dollars were increased, and new partnerships with industry and businesses were formed; he retired in July, 2001.

Howard Cohen, Chancellor of Purdue Calumet from 2001 - 2011

2001-2011 – Howard S. Cohen, Chancellor

Dr. Cohen became Calumet’s fourth chancellor in 2001, and helped further its growth and recognition. In 2007, studies showed that he helped increase enrollments, raise admission requirements and increase the diversity on campus simultaneously through the school’s strategic planning effort. Chancellor Cohen believed that by realizing the vision for Calumet, the region would be transformed and headed for a bright future.

Thomas Keon, Chancellor of Purdue Calumet from 2011 to present

2011-present – Thomas L. Keon, Chancellor

Dr. Thomas L. Keon has served Purdue University Calumet as its sixth campus leader/chancellor since July 1, 2011. As head of the 10,000-student, Hammond, Indiana-based, Purdue University regional campus, Dr. Keon is advancing four strategic goals for shaping Purdue Calumet’s future: 1) academic excellence, 2) learning through engagement and discovery, 3) inclusivity, and 4) business and community partnerships. During his 35+ year career in higher education, he also has held positions as dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida and dean of the College of Business and Administration at Southern Illinois University. Additionally, he has served administratively at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Missouri, holding such positions as associate dean, director and department chair. He holds a baccalaureate degree in accounting (Bentley University), master’s in education (Suffolk University), MBA (Babson College) and doctorate in management (Michigan State University).

Source: Office of Advancement