Updated: June 11, 2013 6:37AM
GARY — More than 800 students gathered in caps and gowns in the Genesis Center on Thursday for the 47th Annual Indiana University Northwest Commencement.
The largest group ever to graduate from IUN received 606 bachelor’s degrees, 125 master’s degrees and 123 associate degrees.
Wearing black gowns, the graduates listened to university trustee Patrick Shoulders speak about the revolutionary times the graduating class will face.
“There is no question that the world we share has become more globally interconnected and complex than ever,” Shoulders said. “Powerful technologies have allowed us to overcome the challenges of geography, language barriers, and have given people the world over greater access to information.
“This brave new world, marked by rapid, personal and participatory change, is the world which you, the members of the Class of 2013, will face.”
William Lowe, the university chancellor, highlighted the challenges that many students faced, juggling jobs, families and classes, to reach their degrees.
“I am always struck by the number of graduates whose individual stories reflect the desire for still more education and a commitment to lifelong learning,” Lowe said. “Many of our most recent alumni have plans for law school, medical school, advanced degrees and future bachelor’s degrees.”
He shared stories of three graduating students. Cara Thigpen of Portage graduated with a master’s degree in educational leadership, Sophia Olazba of Crown Point received a bachelor’s degree in political science and Eden Strange of Gary returned to college to expand his career options with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“These graduates reflect and represent the accomplishments of the students who comprise the Class of 2013 who have listened to their passions and pursued their goals,” Lowe said.
Kelly Becker, 23, of DeMotte graduated with a major in communications. She was chosen to address her fellow classmates and told them stories about how hard work now will become sweet memories as time passes.
“I encourage you tonight to enjoy the long, drawn out ceremony with the abundance of speeches and the goofy looking hat,” Becker said.
IUN President Michael McRobbie was not able to attend due to a delayed flight in Bloomington.