October 22, 2022

Purdue Global celebrates nearly 1,200 graduates in West Lafayette commencement ceremonies

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — During his distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, Kelvin Gumbs admits to “never truly feeling a connection to the degree I was attempting to earn.”

Research led Gumbs to Purdue Global in 2018, and he went on to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in small-group management in 2020, followed by a Bachelor of Science degree in professional studies a year later.

On Saturday (Oct. 22), Gumbs provided the keynote address to 1,177 Purdue Global graduates who took part in in-person and virtual commencement ceremonies at Elliott Hall of Music on the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

gumbs-pgcommence Kelvin Gumbs, a Navy veteran and Purdue Global alum, provided the keynote address for Purdue Global commencement ceremonies on Saturday (Oct. 22). (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

“This education, for many of us, has afforded us opportunities to be promoted, pivot to new careers or learn new skills,” said Gumbs, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who was raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and now lives in Pensacola, Florida. “For me, it gave me the courage to a pursue a new chapter – after 22 years retiring from the Navy – for more family time and a new career coaching various industries to eliminate incidents, develop leadership and transform cultures.

“The journey for us all has been uniquely challenging. We have individually faced varying degrees of difficulty along the way, but the end state is the same – through challenge, sacrifices and prioritization, we are here together today as Purdue Global graduates and Purdue family, having earned this truly world-class education.

“Take a moment and stop to reflect on, and find delight in, the enriching and fulfilling journey that you have been on to this point. The same grit and determination you used to achieve this degree will set you apart moving forward.”

Degrees were awarded from the schools of Business and Information Technology, Education, General Education, Health Sciences, Nursing, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Concord Law School. There were 535 bachelor’s degrees, 417 master’s degrees, 149 associate degrees, 63 certificates and 13 doctoral degrees (eight Doctor of Nursing Practice, one Juris Doctor and four Executive Juris Doctor).

The graduates reside in 47 states – including 241 Indiana residents – plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico and Pakistan. Some 187 graduates are affiliated with the military. Thirty-three systemwide university employees are among those who earned a Purdue Global degree or certificate via the Purdue Global education benefit.

dooley-pgcommence Chancellor Frank Dooley congratulated Purdue Global graduates from 47 states and across the globe on Saturday (Oct. 22) in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

MORE: Learn how Purdue University’s tradition of opportunity expands with Purdue Global.

Chancellor Frank Dooley addressed the graduates – 719 who registered to attend in-person and 458 virtually – their families and friends.

Dooley noted that over 9,300 Purdue Global students are affiliated with the military, including nearly 5,000 active duty, National Guard and reserve members serving worldwide; over 1,500 military families; and over 2,900 veterans. Almost half of Purdue Global students are the first in their family to attend college, while more than half care for a child or other dependent.

“I'm thrilled that we were able to celebrate here on campus, where the history of Purdue began over 150 years ago,” Dooley said. “Can you believe that classes began with only six instructors and 39 students? Look at how far we have come. West Lafayette is a campus with 50,000 students and Purdue Global has another 35,000 students. We are grateful to provide a ceremony that brings us all together, no matter where we are around the globe, either virtually or here in Elliott Hall.

“What you have all done is so remarkable. You completed your education while dealing with everything that life throws your way, including a pandemic. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get where you are today, and you should be proud.”

Lisa Holman, from Hopkins, Minnesota, who received a Purdue Global diploma for her Master of Science degree in information technology, performed the national anthem.

Saturday marked Purdue Global’s 15th commencement since its formation in 2018 and the second in West Lafayette.

In the days leading up to commencement, Purdue Global hosted various virtual celebratory events, including a photo booth, toast, graduation “shout out” board and social media activities, as well as both an in-person Black and Gold Celebration and Military Appreciation Dinner on Friday (Oct. 21) in West Lafayette.

Some 11,000 Purdue Global students have graduated in the last year.

The next Purdue Global commencement is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2023, in Anaheim, California.

About Purdue Global

Purdue Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit https://stories.purdue.edu/purdue-global/.

Writer: Tom Schott, tschott@purdue.edu

Media contact: Matthew Oates, oatesw@purdue.edu

Sources: Frank Dooley

Beth Smith

Kelvin Gumbs

Note to Journalists: Photos of commencement are available on Google Drive.

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