Thomas L. Keon, chancellor-designate of Purdue University Northwest and chancellor of Purdue University Calumet, has been nationally recognized for his commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Keon is among 27 heads of colleges and universities to receive INSIGHT into Diversity magazine’s Giving Back Award. According to the magazine, the award recognizes leaders of higher education for going above and beyond their daily leadership duties to make a difference in the lives of underrepresented students, employees and community members.
Keon is the only award recipient from an Indiana institution.
“In preparing students for opportunities in a global society, colleges and universities have a responsibility to nurture a learning and working environment that espouses respect and understanding for all individuals,” Keon said. “I take that responsibility seriously, which gives me great pride in being selected to receive this award.”
Supporting success for all students
Keon, a first generation college graduate, was honored for being a champion of affordable education and programming that supports the needs, success and leadership of students from disadvantaged communities. Under his leadership, Purdue Calumet introduced “Brother 2 Brother,” a program geared to increasing retention and graduation rates of Hispanic and African-American male students.
Purdue Calumet also provides programs for military veterans, students of LGBT orientation and leadership development for students of all populations.
Inclusivity is one of the four cornerstones of Purdue Calumet’s strategic plan developed under Keon’s leadership. Fueled by that priority, all employees, including student workers, complete diversity and inclusion training within three months of their work start date. Keon also provides direction and support to the Multicultural Campus Council.
Harassment & discrimination free
“Chancellor Keon has diligently worked to create and maintain an educational environment that is free from harassment and discrimination for faculty, students and staff,” PNW Calumet campus Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity Linda Knox said.
In the community, Keon serves on the board of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana; is co-chair of the Northwest Indiana quality of life initiative, One Region; and provides leadership to the Small Business Development Center of Northwest Indiana.
“His ability to put himself in the shoes of others and tactfully guide them on the path to success is a trait that not only makes him a socially responsible leader, but also an impactful leader,” Knox said.
With recent approval by the Higher Learning Commission, Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central have unified to become Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a comprehensive regional university within the Purdue University system. PNW welcomes its first class of students this fall. Students will complete the current spring semester as enrollees of Purdue Calumet in Hammond or Purdue North Central in Westville. Purdue Northwest becomes Indiana’s fifth largest public university, enrolling more than 15,000 students and offering 70+ programs of study.