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729 degrees awarded at IUN commencement

IndianUniversity Northwest Trustee Phillip N. Eskew Jr. (center) addresses crowd during inducticeremony The Genesis Center May 15 2014. | Jim

Indiana University Northwest Trustee Phillip N. Eskew Jr. (center) addresses the crowd during the induction ceremony at The Genesis Center on May 15, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 17, 2014 12:26PM



GARY — Indiana University Northwest handed out 729 degrees — that’s 108 associate degrees, 511 bachelor’s degrees and 110 master’s degrees — during its 48th commencement exercises Thursday at the Genesis Convention Center.

IUN Chancellor William Lowe called the Class of 2014 a reflection of the university’s diversity.

“More than two-thirds (of its members) are women, 40 percent are students of color, close to half are first-generation college graduates, the great majority are ages 30 or older and nearly 90 percent worked while earning their degrees,” Lowe said.

Lowe cited examples of IUN’s diverse graduating class, including Anna Spark, 59, of Gary, who is a mother of four and grandmother of 11. Spark earned an associate degree in general studies with a grade-point average of 3.8 and is working on a bachelor’s degree.

“Anna is pursuing additional education for the benefit of herself and her family, but also for the many local women she believes she can help through her social services expertise,” Lowe said.

IUN President Michael McRobie told the graduates that their Indiana University education has enhanced their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

“It has instilled in you the desire to ask and the capacity to seek answers to some of the most important questions of our day,” McRobie said. “Questions about globalization, about prosperity and poverty, about energy, technology and fundamental questions about right and wrong. Your answers, and, more importantly, the debates in which you will engage as you seek these answers, will serve to renew our democracy and help it continue to thrive.”

Laura Rowen, 36, of DeMotte, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing after five years. A widowed mother of four children, Rowen said she silently pushed through hardship to earn it.

“My oldest is 19 and my youngest is 5. I don’t what I would have done without all of them,” she said.

She said enrolling at IUN after being out of school for so many years was scary at first, but it was the right decision.

“All growth comes outside the box. If it’s comfortable, you are not growing. Push through, and the end result feels better than anything you could possibly imagine,” she said.

DeJuan DeVoe, 34, of Gary, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in less than three years thanks to carrying a heavy load of summer classes. DeVoe, a Navy veteran, said supplementing his GI Bill benefits by earning the Peggy Gordon Elliott Scholarship and a special retention scholarship and getting a veteran’s stipend allowed him attend IUN full-time since the fall of 2011. He was also on the dean’s list.

“I have been worry-free because of these benefits. In the summer of 2011, I asked myself if I really wanted to do this. Everyone thinks economics is an overwhelming thing, but it’s not,” he said.



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