Logo: PNW Alumni Hall of Fame Purdue University NorthwestPNW Alumni Hall of Fame

Honoring distinguished graduates of the Purdue University Northwest campuses.

2024 Honorees

Thomas McDermott Jr.

Thomas McDermott, Jr.

Thomas McDermott Jr. is the 20th mayor of the city of Hammond. He earned his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Finance from PNW in 1996. He then earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2000.

As mayor, he has supported Purdue Northwest in its mission and growth. The city’s College Bound program has allowed hundreds of Hammond residents to attend PNW, achieving their goals of higher education and supporting the university. When the city planned the opening of its only charter school, Hammond Academy of Science and Technology (HAST), McDermott turned to PNW’s School of Education and Counseling to help write the curriculum

McDermott, an avid sports fan and supporter, has helped set aside land at Dowling Park for the benefit of several Pride Athletics programs, such as baseball, soccer, softball and tennis. Dowling Park is now a premier facility for both Hammond and PNW. The investment additionally helped Pride Athletics elevate to the NCAA Division II level. McDermott also serves on the PNW Chancellor’s advisory board. As he enters his sixth term, McDermott looks forward to continuing an outstanding relationship with PNW as Hammond’s mayor and as a proud alumnus.

The Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider

The Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider

The Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider is a Northwest Indiana native and earned her bachelor’s degree in English from PNW in 1971. She earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Valparaiso University School of Law in 1982. Judge Schneider went on to become the first female judge of the Civil Division of the Lake Superior Court in 2000, and previously served as Court Administrator in the Juvenile Division and Magistrate in the County Division.

She has served on boards of the Lake County Bar Association, Indiana State Bar Association and the Indiana WINGS Guardianship Task Force. Under her direction and in partnership with Franciscan Health, Lake County became the first Indiana county to have a volunteer guardianship program.

Judge Schneider retired in 2019 after 33 years of service in the courts and now resides in Florida with her husband, David R. Schneider, retired Lake County Chief Public Defender. In spring 2023, Judge Schneider delivered the PNW spring commencement keynote address and was awarded her Master of Arts (M.A.) in English. Judge Schneider and David also established a scholarship at PNW that will support Criminal Justice students in perpetuity.

Jeff Strack

Jeff Strack

Jeff Strack is the president and CEO of Indiana Grocery Group, which does business as and operates Strack & Van Til stores. He received his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Purdue Northwest in 2000.

Strack & Van Til has grown to 23 locations, with a focus on providing an exceptional shopping experience, clean stores, product variety and solutions that continually evolve to meet community needs. Jeff Strack’s leadership fosters a practice for management team members to be involved in civic and volunteer engagement.

Beyond providing and supporting nourishment to local communities, Strack & Van Til stores have supported schools, veterans, first responders, local sports teams, women’s shelters and more. Jeff Strack has additionally given back to the community through service on boards such as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana; One Region’s opportunity council; St. Catherine Hospital; Tradewinds Services, Inc.; and United Way Northwest Indiana.

Strack also devotes time to his alma mater by mentoring PNW College of Business students, serving on the College of Business advisory board and serving on the PNW Chancellor’s advisory board.

PNW Chancellor Holford Poses with 2024 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., the Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider and Jeff Strack, president and CEO of Indiana Grocery Group

2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

Purdue University Northwest inducted Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., the Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider and Jeff Strack, president and CEO of Indiana Grocery Group, as its third annual PNW Alumni Hall of Fame class in April 2024.

Relive the Induction Ceremony with NWI.LIFE

Read the 2024 Honoree Announcement

2023 Honorees

Robert Johnson III

Robert Johnson III

Johnson serves as President and CEO of Cimcor, Inc. in Merrillville, Indiana. Cimcor develops cutting edge information technology security software to help companies meet compliance and regulatory requirements as well as protect valuable information and ensure system uptime.

Prior to Cimcor, Inc., Johnson served as manager of business systems for Davy McKee Corporation and founded Velocityware, which focuses on the development, marketing and distribution of mobile software and technology. He is an inventor and has led the development of several patented and patent-pending technologies.

Johnson earned his associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from PNW and serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for PNW’s department of Computer Information Technology and Graphics in the College of Technology.

Stewart McMillan

Stewart "Stu" McMillan

McMillan is the founder of the Multi Agency Academic Cooperative (MAAC) Foundation in Valparaiso, Indiana. The MAAC Foundation, named to honor McMillan’s father, Clyde “Mack” McMillan, is a multi-purpose campus that provides training opportunities to first responders in Northwest Indiana.

McMillan previously led Task Force Tips, Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of firefighting equipment, and served as a member of the Union Township and Washington Township fire departments in Porter County, Indiana.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Engineering in 1977 from PNW. McMillan’s generous support has helped PNW upgrade facilities and student workspace, including the PNW Design Studio on the Hammond campus.

Alfredo Sori

Alfredo "Al" Sori

Sori retired after a distinguished career from Kiewit Corporation, one of North America’s largest construction and engineering organizations. He most recently served as division manager of Kiewit subsidiary Mass Electric Transportation, where he oversaw transit electrical, communication, traction power, security, ITS, roadway lighting projects and high-speed rail pursuits across North America. He served in division manager roles since 2013 with executive oversight of multiple Kiewit districts and subsidiaries.

In 2020 he made a gift to support a general biology lab space inside PNW’s Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building, naming the space the Sivilla-Sori Biology Lab in memory of his mother, Georgina Sivilla.

Sori earned both an associate’s degree in Civil Engineering Technology and a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management in 1989 from PNW.

PNW 2023 Alumni Hall of Inductees Alfredo “Al” Sori, Stewart “Stu” McMillan and Robert Johnson III in front of the Alumni Hall of Fame Display in the Student Union and Library Building

2023 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees

Purdue University Northwest inducted Robert Johnson III, Stewart “Stu” McMillan and Alfredo “Al” Sori into the PNW Alumni Hall of Fame in June 2023. The recognition honored these high-achieving alumni for their impact on their communities—and alma mater.

Relive the Induction Ceremony with Great News

Read the 2023 Honoree Announcement

David Roberts

Our 2022 Inductee

David A. Roberts

Chairman, President and CEO Carlisle Companies Incorporated

Purdue University Northwest has selected David A. Roberts as the first honoree to the university’s new PNW Alumni Hall of Fame. A Marine Corps veteran and native of Steger, Illinois, Roberts earned his bachelor’s degree in Technology with distinction from the Purdue University Northwest Hammond campus in 1974.

Meet the First PNW Hall of Fame Inductee

A PNW graduate poses with her diploma

Celebrating the Pride

Regardless of when you graduated, what you studied or what campus you graduated from, your diploma makes you a member of the Purdue University Northwest alumni community!

Connect with the PNW Alumni Community