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October 7, 2013

My passion for Purdue: John Lucas

John Lucas

John Lucas, professor of human resources management at Purdue University Calumet. (Photo provided)
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John Lucas, professor of human resources management at Purdue University Calumet, could not be more proud of his Purdue undergraduate degree -- the driving force behind why he gives to scholarships.

"I tell my students the degree they will get at Purdue is a quality degree," says Lucas (LA'81). "That's why I wanted to establish a scholarship here. I know the coursework they do is solid and will lay a foundation for them to do whatever they want.

"I give because I want students to have the same access to education I did. There isn't a greater gift one can give than allowing students educational opportunities and knowledge to better themselves."

The Lucas Scholarship Endowment was created in memory of Lucas' father, Robert, who passed away during Lucas' senior year in high school. "If it hadn't been for scholarships, I wouldn't have been able to attend college and I wouldn't be where I am now," he says.

When he was applying to Loyola University Chicago for graduate school, Lucas questioned if his Purdue degree gave him a strong enough educational background to handle the rigorous program. "The answer was definitely yes," Lucas says.

He credits Purdue for laying the foundation and carrying him through each step that led him back to Purdue Calumet, this time as a professor.

"I worked as a human resources manager at Commonwealth Edison for 12 years and loved being in the corporate environment, but it's no comparison to being a teacher. I love teaching," Lucas says. "I don't consider this a job."

His love of teaching and passion for Purdue takes the gold and black imprint far beyond the Purdue Calumet campus. It travels with each and every one of his students and wherever their lives take them.

"The responsibility to my students doesn't stop after the lecture is over or once they graduate," Lucas says. They stay in touch with him, ask for advice and keep him informed about the happenings in their lives.

"It's not just about teaching, it's about connecting -- really connecting with them on a deeper level," he says. "That's what Purdue has given to me. I can't envision teaching at any other university and it's why I give back."

* Faculty and staff who would like to share their own thoughts and stories about supporting Purdue should contact stewardship@purdue.edu or 49-43872.

Writer: Karen Pulliam, 49-43872, kp@purdue.edu