Student Success Testimony

‘Thanks, Purdue Calumet, I won’t forget you’

“I started here 4½ years ago, and now I’m officially finished with my last final of my undergraduate degree.”

Stacey Howell and his wife
Stacey met his wife, Natalie (Manchak), a 2011 alumna, on campus.

So began the message December graduate Stacey Howell, 30, of Schererville posted on the Purdue Calumet Facebook page just days before Dec. 18 Commencement Exercises. Howell and 682 classmates earned Purdue degrees last fall. While they all have different stories, the diversity of their circumstances provides, ironically, a degree of common ground.

Didn’t know a soul . . .

“I started at PUC,” Howell continued,not knowing a soul there, not knowing a major, zero direction as far as what I want to do in college and working a part time job making little money with one goal of getting a degree.

“Today, I have made more friends than I would have ever imagined, was the President of multiple student organizations, was a Senator in (Student Government Association), won multiple academic awards, met my wife there! And now (I) have a full time job waiting for me. Thanks, Purdue University Calumet. I won’t forget you. . .”

Like the majority of our graduates, Howell is the first from his family to earn a baccalaureate degree. He came to enroll at our Hammond campus after seven years of service in the Coast Guard.

He got involved

While stationed in Chicago and anticipating his discharge, he did his homework on where he wanted to spend the next chapter of his life as a university student. Once enrolled at Purdue Calumet, he followed the advice of classmates and mentors “to get involved in campus activities” while he juggled part-time jobs and, of course, his course load.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said about his Purdue Calumet years. “I got involved, met a lot of friends and I could work my class schedule around my work schedule.”

. . . And that’s how success was achieved by yet another not-so-typical, typical Purdue Calumet graduate.