PNW Pridecast: Support PNW Students on Day of Giving

April 17, 2024
A student in commencement regalia poses next to a badge that says Purdue Northwest Day of Giving 04/24/24

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Episode Script

A student in commencement regalia poses next to a badge that says Purdue Northwest Day of Giving 04/24/24Greetings, Purdue Northwest colleagues! For one more time this academic year you’re listening to the PNW Pridecast, sharing the latest faculty and staff news with you.

I’m your host, Kale Wilk, and on this installment we’ll share information on how you can help PNW students on Day of Giving, preview the spotlights on scholarly excellence showcased at Days of Discovery, and recap the third annual PNW Alumni Hall of Fame class.

Invest in PNW students Through a Gift on Day of Giving

Mark your calendars for April 24! The 11th annual PNW Day of Giving is your opportunity to help enhance PNW students’ futures by making a gift to your choice of programs and units.

PNW Day of Giving is the most successful annual campaign supporting student scholarships and strengthening the support for programs that serve PNW students. Gifts of any size have far-reaching impacts to support PNW students in attaining a high-quality academic experience and participating in meaningful co-curricular activities.

PNW Day of Giving is a 24-hour fundraiser that runs from 11 p.m. central time on April 23 through 11 p.m. on April 24. By visiting, you can make a gift to 115 different funds across 19 participating PNW units.

The students are truly grateful for all of the donors who give year-round, and specifically on Day of Giving, because they know without their support they wouldn’t be here.

Mackenzie Covault, Annual Fund and Donor Communications Coordinator

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Various areas of the university can also compete in hourly challenges by raising the most money or having the highest number of gifts during certain time periods to win bonus funds. New this year, social media challenges will also be available for units to pursue bonus funds, as well as to, of course, share their own message of support for PNW.

Mackenzie Covault, annual fund and donor communications coordinator in the Office of Institutional Advancement, has more:

“They (students) are truly grateful for all of the donors who give year-round, and specifically on Day of Giving, because they know without their support they wouldn’t be here,” said Covault. “The students know themselves the impacts donors have on their educational experience at Purdue Northwest.

“The community cares about our students because our students go right back and serve this community. I think we all see that Purdue Northwest produces great students and also does great things for the community, and that we want to support PNW and the students that we serve.”

Again, for more information visit

Days of Discovery to Showcase Scholarly Excellence

PNW’s annual Days of Discovery returns April 18 to spotlight the spirit of scholarly research among our students and faculty members.

Multiple presenters will exhibit their research during the poster presentations session from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Alumni Hall on the Hammond campus.  Aside from the spotlight on unique research pursuits, Days of Discovery is a chance for PNW students to build their confidence as young scholars by sharing their findings with different audiences and receiving feedback from their faculty mentors. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend to learn more about our students’ activities and to help them grow.

Here’s Michael Zimmer, associate professor of Biological Sciences and faculty fellow for Undergraduate Research, with more:

“When you share your work, especially with people outside of your discipline, they are coming from a different point of view,” said Zimmer. “They may be able to look at your question or issue and ask a question that had not crossed your mind just yet. That is an opportunity for you to put those goggles on and see if there is something to pursue.

“You can come by, ask some questions, and it may not be in your field, but that is not the point. Take a little interest in what is going on, talk to some students about what they are doing and why they are doing it. You can have a very positive impact.”

Other events on the 2024 Days of Discovery schedule include a faculty panel titled “Inspiring Research and Sharing Success Stories” and the plenary speaker, Michelle Thompson, associate professor of Planetary Materials at Purdue West Lafayette. Thompson will present on how asteroid samples provide a window to the early history of our solar system.

For more information, visit

Three Impactful Alumni Join PNW’S Alumni Hall of Fame

PNW recently inducted three Northwest Indiana icons into its 2024 class for the PNW Alumni Hall of Fame.

The 2024 honorees included the Honorable Thomas McDermott, Jr., mayor of the City of the Hammond; the Honorable Diane Kavadias Schneider, retired Lake Superior Court judge; and Jeff Strack, president and CEO of Indiana Grocery Group, which does business as Strack & Van Til. PNW’s Alumni Hall of Fame honors alumni who are high-achieving leaders in their fields, involved members of their communities and who have engaged with PNW well beyond their time as students.

The three inductees were recognized during a reception and dinner in Alumni Hall on the Hammond campus. Formal remarks lauding the trio for their impact to Northwest Indiana were delivered by PNW Chancellor Chris Holford; Purdue University President Mung Chiang; Michael Berghoff, chairman of the Purdue University Board of Trustees; and Katie Holderby, director of Alumni Engagement.

To learn more about the 2024 inductees and the PNW Alumni Hall of Fame, visit

Recent News Items

To close out, we’ll list a few upcoming and recent campus news items:

  • PNW will honor 834 candidates on May 4 during its spring commencement. The candidates include 685 earning their baccalaureate degrees and 149 earning their master’s degrees. Spring commencement exercises will take place outdoors on the Hammond Campus in the area south of the Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building. The program is scheduled to start at noon CDT. In case of severe weather, the back-up date is Sunday, May 5. Several pre-commencement celebrations will be held around the university over the next few weeks. Visit for more information about all the pomp and circumstance.
  • Congratulations to five PNW faculty members who received approval by the Purdue University Board of Trustees for academic promotions effective Aug. 12, 2024.Faculty members promoted to the rank of professor include Ricardo Calix, professor of Computer Information Technology; Mohammed Errihani, professor of English; and Meden Isaac-Lam, professor of Chemistry.Faculty members promoted to the rank of associate professor include Amanda Kratovil-Mailhiot, associate professor of Nursing, and Julia Rogers, associate professor of Nursing.
  • PNW DI hockey player and third-year student Sam Bourdages was named the 2024 American Collegiate Hockey Association DI National Player of the Year. This is the first National Player of the Year recognition for a PNW student-athlete regardless of sport and affiliation. Bourdages was the Pride’s leading scorer during the 2023-24 season with 62 points by scoring 27 goals and dishing out 35 assists in 31 regular season games.
  • Shontrai Irving, clinical associate professor of Business Law, recently received the 2024 Chairman Award from the Katie Hall Foundation. The annual awards recognize recipients for their outstanding public service to the City of Gary and throughout the U.S.

That concludes this installment of Pridecast. Thank you very much for listening along this academic year. Remember, we’re eager to hear your faculty and staff news, which you can share by visiting

I’m Kale Wilk, signing off. Have a great rest of your spring and a swell summer!