James "J.D." Ziegler of Hebron.
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:10AM
Though it has expanded its athletics program to 12 teams, Purdue University Calumet is staying true to its commitment of Students First, Athletes Second.
The athletic department’s spring 2013 academic report indicates that for the fourth consecutive semester, the cumulative average grade point average of student athletes topped the B average mark of 3.0.
A Purdue Calumet record seven Peregrine teams reported a collective grade point average that exceeded 3.00, led by women’s cross country (3.38) and men’s tennis (3.25). Others topping 3.0 were women’s volleyball (3.16), women’s soccer (3.12), women’s basketball (3.1), women’s tennis (3.07) and men’s cross country (3.03).
What’s more, six student-athletes compiled a 4.0 grade point average.
Add a qualifying berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II national tournament last March by the women’s basketball squad, and it’s been quite a year for Purdue Calumet athletics, which will introduce men’s baseball and women’s softball squads during the upcoming 2013-14 academic year.
Purdue Calumet student-athletes have opportunities to earn athletic and academic scholarships while competing for the Peregrines.
The university held its annual golf outing last week in support of athletic scholarships. Additionally, Purdue Calumet values the demonstrated commitment of others who support Peregrine athletics.
One such individual is Thomas Ray Crowel.
A Purdue Calumet alumnus, local businessman, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist, Crowel is supporting an endowed athletics scholarship in honor of his alma mater’s first athletics director and longtime coach, Bob Hayes.
A gift from Crowel is establishing the Thomas Ray Crowel Athletic Scholarship Endowment.
“Bob Hayes is synonymous with Purdue Calumet athletics,” Crowel said. “His tireless efforts enriched wonderful opportunities for many northwest Indiana student-athletes. Seeing the commitment Purdue Calumet is making to intercollegiate athletics, I am pleased to dedicate this gift in honor of Bob Hayes.”
In 2004, Crowel endowed the university’s Thomas Ray Crowel Scholarship in Education — four $25,000 awards. A year later, he provided support for the first endowed Purdue Calumet professorship, which enabled leadership for the university’s Center for Science and Technology Education.
“On behalf of the Peregrines, we are very grateful for Mr. Crowel’s generous support,” Purdue Calumet Athletics Director Rick Costello said. “His contribution allows Purdue Calumet student-athletes to seek academic and athletic excellence. Equally important, his gift enables our student-athletes to develop leadership skills by focusing on teamwork, perseverance, persistence and resiliency in the face of adversity.”
After establishing a career, Crowel enrolled at Purdue Calumet at age 36, earning a baccalaureate degree in three years. He has developed successful insurance and finance companies, an accredited training center for sales professionals and a chain of car washes.
Purdue Calumet anticipates enrollment of some 200 student-athletes this fall.