Alumni News & Notes


Marsha King (AS ’74, BS ’78, MS ’86) was recently named dean of the University of St. Francis, Crown Point, after serving as interim dean for several months. She joined the university in 2012.


Stewart Brekke (MS ’87) received his PhD in arts and sciences from International University for Graduate Studies.

Peggy Buffington (BA ’88, MSED ’93, PhD ’98-WL) received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the September One Region Annual Luncheon. Peggy is the superintendent of schools for Hobart, IN, and was appointed to her post in 2008.

Patrick Chapin (BA ’84) has been appointed judge pro tempore for the Eighth Judicial District, Clark County, NV. In addition, Vegas Inc magazine named Chapin as a top employment lawyer in Las Vegas.

Donna Eatinger (AAS ’87, BS ’89) was recognized as a Teacher of Excellence by the Kenneth J. Allen Law Firm. Donna teaches first grade at Lafayette Elementary in Hammond.

Carol (Bekavac) Hayden (BA ’88) received the Watermark Communities (Tucson, AZ) Thrive Award for her outstanding service as administrative assistant.

Deno Yiankes (BS ’88), president and CEO of White Lodging’s Investments and Developments Division, announced they are planning on opening 12 new hotels in prime markets. Deno is quoted in the November 21, 2013, issue of Hotel Business magazine.


Vanessa Allen (AA ’91, MSED ’96) recently received her doctorate in educational leadership. She also serves as president and CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, Inc.

Dr. Marie Hansel (MS ’94) was named interim vice president of academic affairs at Prairie State College, where she has been dean of health and industrial technology and director of nursing since 2010, as well as an associate professor.

Karen Lauerman (BA ’92), director of marketing for the Northwest Indiana Forum, was one of the winners of the Influential Women of Northwest Indiana award during their second annual event.

Andrea Pearman (AAS ’93, BA ’93) and her team at Diversified Marketing Strategies were recently awarded the Community Spirit Award for their incredible fundraising efforts by Lake Area United Way.

Alexis Vazquez-Dedelow (BA ’94) co-owns WJOB radio station with her husband, Jim Dedelow, and recently formed a partnership with Purdue University Calumet in which the Hammond radio station will move its broadcasting operations and streaming media center to the university’s emerging Manufacturing and Commercialization Center.


Ashley Clark Gerodimos (BA ’08) won Sales Manager of the Year award from White Lodging.

Dr. Mari Plikuhn (BA ’01, MS ’04) is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Evansville and was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

Angela Ruiz (BA ’03) was recently named 2013 District 1 Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals. She represents Lake, Porter, Jasper, and Newton counties. Angela is also working toward a superintendent’s license and a doctorate degree.


Taylor Allen (BS ’12) is an operations engineer in the manufacturing Brake & Friction division at Carlisle Companies, Inc. The division provides high-performance and severe-duty brake, clutch, and transmission applications for heavy off-road construction, mining, and agricultural equipment, as well as for competitive auto racing. Allen is also part of the company’s recently initiated pilot management training program.

Samantha Bartucci (BS ’11, MBA ’13) was promoted to account specialist at iProspect, where she was previously a search marketing coordinator. Samantha was president of PUMA while she was a student at Purdue University Calumet.

Stephanie Beck (BS ’13) was recently named head men’s and women’s cross country coach at Purdue University Calumet. Stephanie also serves as an assistant coach for the Peregrines’ nationally-ranked women’s basketball team.

Hardik Dalal (MBA student) recently joined Kaufman Hall as assistant vice president. In his new role, he will provide cost-management advisory services to hospitals and health systems, focusing on development of operational improvement plans, cost-management readiness assessments, overhead cost analysis, and cost reduction implementation support.

Ja’Shar Hartley (BS ’12) recently received his MBA from Northern Illinois University and is in the process of applying to PhD programs in management. Ja’Shar was a Chancellor’s Scholar and McNair Scholar while a student at Purdue University Calumet.

Nicole Heuberger (BA ’11) was sworn in as one of the newest rookies of the Portage Police Department this past February by Mayor James Snyder. Heuberger had briefly served as a Portage Police Department reserve officer.

Brad Kreiger (MBAE ’10) recently accepted a new position as vice president for Hard Hat Hub. Mr. Kreiger was previously a senior vice president of marketing for Jones Lang LaSalle.

Angela Leimer (BS ’13) won the fourth annual “Intra Mural” art contest and gained the opportunity to paint her winning mural on the wall of the Fitness and Recreation Center. Prof. Geralyn Farley of HTM said Leimer’s art and photography are great additions to her degree. “In our business, customers first ‘buy’ with their eyes. It could be a meal, a hotel room, a destination. Angela is wonderful at capturing a subject that sells.”

Benjamin Oprinovich (BS ’13) has accepted a position as information security analyst at Whirlpool Corporation. Ben was part of the team that took 1st place in the Information Systems Project and Case Competition last year.

Jocelyn PrueJocelyn Prue (BA ’04) is the owner and executive director of the new White Ripple Gallery & Co. in Hammond, a multilevel gallery, that presents art by new and established artists and artisan-made goods. Jocelyn co-curated their inaugural show on January 25, which featured works by artists from Indiana and Illinois, and Purdue University Calumet faculty member, Tom Roach. White Ripple Gallery & Co. also received an award from the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce on February 15 during the chamber’s Stars of the Lakeshore annual awards dinner.

White Ripple Gallery & Co. is located at 6725 Kennedy Ave., Hammond, IN.

Seth Rainford (MBAE ’12) was recently promoted to vice president-HealthLab at Cadence Health. Previously, Seth served as director of sales operations for the same company.

Nicole Woods (BA ’13) received the 2013 Women of Excellence Award from the Chicago Defender. The award honors African-American women who inspire others through leadership, exceptional achievements, and community service participation in the Chicago area.

Faculty/Staff News & Notes

Kuan-Chou Chen

Kuan-Chou Chen

Kuan-Chou Chen (College of Business) was recently named Thomas M. McDermott Sr. Professor in Economic Development. Kuan-Chou Chen

Anne Edwards (Behavioral Sciences) recently earned an internationally recognized certification in family life through the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program that is offered by the National Council on Family Relations. The CFLE program encourages applications from professionals with preparation and experience in family life education, including formal teaching, research/scholarship, community education, public information and education, curriculum and resource development, health care, military family support, and ministry. Anne’s credential allows the human development and family studies program at Purdue University Calumet to apply to be a CFLE-approved program.

Yahya Kamalipour (Communication) delivered a keynote address at the opening session of the recent Seventh Global Communication Association Conference at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. He also recently participated in plenary and panel discussions about the role and impact of mass media in global conflicts at the Eleventh Annual Conference of the World Public Forum in Rhodes, Greece.

Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly has selected Chancellor Thomas Keon as one of our region’s top leaders within Government, Education & Nonprofit Organizations. The recognition was announced in the publication’s Winter-Spring, 2014 issue.

Tom Megyesi (Athletics), Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball head coach, was named the 2014 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Region IV Coach of the Year by Russell Athletics and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The WBCA announced the regional coaches of the year, all of whom are finalists for the inaugural Pat Summitt Trophy to be presented to the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year.

Dr. Amlan Mitra (Economics) has been reappointed to serve on the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC. He serves on the Transportation and Economic Development Committee. The committee is concerned with the macroeconomic effects of transportation infrastructure investments, the effects of transportation cost changes on local and regional competitiveness, and methodological issues in defining and measuring effects of transportation investments on economic growth and performance. The committee is also concerned with the economic development effects of varying intermodal and modal investment strategies.

As a co-principal investigator, Dr. Mitra completed a study “Estimating the Economic Impacts of Disruptions to Intermodal Freight Systems,” jointly collaborating with Dr. Satish V. Ukkusuri and Dr. Fred Mannering, School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette. The study was funded by a grant from NEXTRANS, U.S. Department of Transportation, Region V, University Transportation Center. The published technical report is available online at

Sharon Schleigh (Science Education) received the Distinguished Award for Innovative Science Teaching by The Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc. (HASTI) this past February. HASTI recognizes outstanding teachers who demonstrate a passion for innovative science teaching.

Pat Obi

Pat Obi

Pat Obi (College of Business) was recently named White Lodging Professor of Finance.

Mohammad Zahraee (Mechanical Engineering) has been appointed to the ABET board of directors as a representative of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Lin Zhao (Management Information Systems) and Raida Abuizam (Operations Management) had a paper that was presented and awarded in a conference, and published in a refereed journal. The details are as follows:

  • Zhao, L. (author and presenter), Abuizam, R. (author), The Global Business, MIS, Economics and Finance Research Conference, “E-Books Adoption for Business Education,” Tokyo, Japan. (July 26, 2013).
  • Best Presenter Award, Global Business, Management Information System, Economics and Finance Research Conference. (July 26, 2013).
  • Zhao, L., Abuizam, R. (2013). E-Books Adoption for Business Education. The Journal of American Business Review, Cambridge, 2(1), 87-92. (Cabell’s acceptance rate: 11%)

Zhao was also appointed to faculty fellow in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for spring and summer of 2014.

In Memoriam

  • Kathryn A. (Emerson) Ambler (BS ’75)
  • Robert J. Auskalnis (BS ’78)
  • Betty J. (VanNoort) Bakker (BA ’88, MS ’95)
  • Ronald W. Balka (BS ’67)
  • Anne M. (Smiley) Baranowski (AS ’99)
  • Timothy B. Bartz (BS ’99)
  • Virginia A. (Maguire) Bateman (MSED ’70)
  • Valerie C. Beard (BA ’88)
  • Tammie J. (Lackey) Beeker (BA ’85, MSED’91)
  • Meredith A. (Traverse) Bensinger
  • (AS ’78, BA ’82)
  • Christine C. (Brown) Bjorklund (AS ’67)
  • Jessie I. (Kohl) Brown (MSED ’73)
  • Janice (Marshall) Buchko (AS ’97)
  • Betty J. (Sutherlin) Carpenter (MSED ’70)
  • Brian D. Carter (AS ’03)
  • Barbara J. (Speaks) Crawford (BA ’90)
  • Linda M. (Keith) Darlington (BA ’09)
  • Jack L. DeBoer (AS ’86, BS ’91, MS ’95)
  • Geraldine A. (O’Neill) Dunham (BS ’77)
  • Shirley B. (Baker) Eastwood (MSED ’84)
  • Patricia J. (Goldner) Farmer (MA ’78)
  • Helen J. (Simpson) Ford (BA ’74, MSED ’80)
  • Eric N. Ford (MSED ’70)
  • Madeline F. (McNamara) Frazier (MA ’69)
  • Michelle L. (Scroggins) Goebel (BA ’05)
  • Anthony R. Gonzalez (BA ’09, MBA ’12)
  • Carlos Gonzalez (AS ’79)
  • Patricia A. (Wingeard) Gorman
  • (BA ’70, MA ’74)
  • Ann L. (Melton) Grasha (BA ’89)
  • Rosa N. (Cardenas) Gregorczyk
  • (AS ’76, BS ’87)
  • Jane W. (Williams) Halfman (MS ’70)
  • Janice J. (Tebben) Hansen (BA ’72)
  • Daniel J. Herr (AS ’79, BS ’81, MS ’96)
  • Joyce A. (Woods) Hinton (BA ’90)
  • Betty Jo (Molchan) Hoeksema (BS ’76)
  • Dawn P. Hogan (BA ’78)
  • Janet S. Huettner, (MA ’71)
  • Rebecca M. (Arias) Jewell (AS ’85, BA ’88)
  • Cecil L. Johnson (BS ’81)
  • Thomas J. Johnston (AS ’83, BS ’91)
  • John M. Kallok (BS ’02)
  • Michael T. Kauffman (AS ’75)
  • Diane M. (Foldenauer) Keller (MA ’79)
  • Betty J. (Lipton) Kiechle (MBA ’00)
  • Ron C. Kokesh (BS ’78, MSED ’02)
  • Joseph F. Korus (MS ’93)
  • Richard J. Kramer (BS ’82)
  • Helen A. (Soudriette) LaBuda
  • (AS ’85,AS ’88, BS ’91)
  • Jennifer L. (Martin) Layhew (BA ’97)
  • Larry H. Lindberg (MS ’76)
  • Miguel M. Magdongon (MS ’77)
  • Janice M. (Wilder) Magidson
  • (BA ’71, MS ’74)
  • Dianne M. (Moore) Mallory (BS ’82, MS ’85)
  • Rita M. (Frankiewicz) Marie (MS ’76)
  • Jerry L. Marler (BS ’71)
  • Edwina A. (Fells) McCraven (BA ’74)
  • Joshlyn F. McMillan (BA ’97, MA ’04, MSED ’04)
  • Walter F. Metz (MA ’77)
  • Joseph M. Mikula (AS ’98, BS ’04)
  • Shirley A. (Kerr) Miller (BA ’94)
  • Michael J. Molson (BS ’71, BS ’87)
  • Ayronn N. (Cody) Newman (BS ’88)
  • Michelle M. Obremski (AS ’78)
  • Patricia E. (Quinn) O’Connell (MS ’74)
  • Carl R. O’Rear (AA ’85)
  • Vincent L. Pacula (AS ’62)
  • Peter L. Panayi (BS ’76)
  • Kenneth H. Petre, (AS ’80, BS ’82)
  • Salvador J. Polito (BS ’71)
  • Eleanor E. Pope (BS ’77)
  • Millie (Sikma) Postma (BA ’79, MS ’85)
  • Warren D. Randolph (BA ’05)
  • Jacqueline S. Reed-Whitelaw (MS ’80)
  • Lynn M. (Walker) Remsburg (MS ’72)
  • Tommie O. Reynolds (AS ’74)
  • Mary E. (Nolan) Rincon (MSED ’00)
  • Wayne E. Roach (AS ’64)
  • Jeffrey T. Robertson (MS ’79)
  • Linda Jo Sadler (BA ’75)
  • Jaime Salazar (BS ’02)
  • Brendella A. Sanders (AS ’90, BS ’93)
  • Ronald G. Savoy (MS ’69)
  • Miriam E. (Johnson) Sawyer (BS ’74)
  • Michelle A. (Claseman) Shevik (MS ’88)
  • Michael A. Sikirica (MS ’73)
  • Clark T. Southworth (MS ’92)
  • Gilbert F. Spisak (AS ’70, BS ’71)
  • Rita (Jackson) Spitzer (BA ’71)
  • Stephen C. Stanczak (MA ’71)
  • Rita L. (Koci) Stucky (BA ’90, MS ’93)
  • Mark A. Sulich (AS ’19, BS ’92)
  • Kristine G. (Bishop) Thomas (MS ’85)
  • Maxine V. (Hilliard)Thomas (BA ’75)
  • Douglas J. Van Wienen (AS ’95, BS ’97)
  • Dorothy A. (Soja) Ventimiglia (MS ’76)
  • Elizabeth (Biegel) Walker (MS ’79)
  • Claree P. (Taylor) Watts (BA ’80)
  • Thomas G. White (BS ’74)
  • Judith A. (Meyer) Witkemper (BS ’90)
  • Porter L. Yancy (AS ’78)
  • Brian W. Yatchak (AS ’88)
  • Thomas F. Zembala (MS ’83)