Marcos E. A. Dal Ponte is one of hundreds to receive a degree from Purdue University North Central during commencement exercises at Valparaiso University on Monday, May 19, 2014. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 23, 2014 11:47AM
VALPARAISO — As he waited for Purdue University North Central’s commencement ceremonies to begin Monday night, 22-year-old graduate Mark Keen was feeling upbeat about his future.
The accounting major finished college in three years while holding a full-time job and already had a second interview set up.
“I’m trying to get into banking, and the place where I have my interview is rebooting their training program,” Keen said.
Keen, a Westville resident, joined other graduates during PNC’s 46th commencement at the Athletics-Recreation Center at Valparaiso University.
Andrea Kingery, 31, of Knox, said she graduated from the Westville campus in December but came Monday for the formal ceremony.
While waiting for the procession to begin, Kingery chatted with Chantel Box, 27, of Knox, and Erin Musgrave, 23, of LaPorte, as they joked about the dangers of wearing super-high heels on such an occasion and discussed their job prospects.
“I already have a job. I got it two months ago,” Kingery said.
All three received degrees in accounting and attended a number of classes together at the college.
PNC Chancellor James Dworkin told the graduating class that many of them eventually may find themselves in a different career than the one they planned, one that might not even exist today. As an example, he said when he started teaching college, there were no cellphones or selfies that are so prevalent today.
“This is your moment. Each diploma represents your success. Your diploma is a wonderful point of pride,” Dworkin said.
For Kelly Kincaid, 24, of LaPorte, Monday night’s graduation ceremony didn’t mark the end of her higher education.
With a bachelor’s degree in social work in hand, Kincaid hopes to work with kids with addictions and then return to school to further her education.
“I want to get some experience, then go for my master’s degree at Indiana University South Bend,” she said.