August 5, 2023
Purdue’s 2023 summer ceremonies graduate more than 1,500 students and celebrates 250th commencement
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University hosted the summer 2023 Commencement Saturday (Aug. 5) in Elliott Hall of Music during two ceremonies honoring the persistent pursuits and giant leaps of more than 1,500 students. Since the first commencement ceremony in 1875, summer and winter commencements were added to each year’s spring commencement, making this commencement the 250th in Purdue’s history.
Indiana Governor, the Honorable Eric Holcomb, helped commemorate the milestone with a keynote speech during the afternoon ceremony.
The morning ceremony included a keynote speech from Joe Watkins, co-founder of Socio, one of Purdue’s recent successful all-student startups.
Eligible to participate in Purdue’s summer commencement were 1,531 students, including 520 undergraduate, 620 master’s, 356 Doctor of Philosophy, 27 professional program candidates and eight educational specialists.
“We are immensely proud of these graduates of our university. Reading their names one by one at the university ceremony, as we do in spring, summer and winter commencements each year, is yet another manifestation of excellence at scale at Purdue,” said Purdue President Mung Chiang. “And we were honored and excited to welcome Governor Holcomb to campus as we celebrated Purdue’s rich history and traditions during our 250th commencement exercises.”
The university and Holcomb honored Purdue’s 250th commencement during a brief celebration.
Holcomb is a lifelong Indiana resident and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. During his two terms of leadership as Indiana’s 51st governor, Holcomb has earned a reputation as a pragmatic consensus builder. Since 2016 his efforts to deliver significant investments and advancements in infrastructure, education, workforce, quality of life and public health have been met with praise across the country.
In 2018, The Hill named Holcomb one of the top 10 governors shaping the future of politics. Under his leadership in 2023, Forbes ranked Indiana the best state in the U.S. to start a business, and following his implementation of a long-term, $60 billion Next Level Roads program, CNBC ranked Indiana No. 1 in the nation for infrastructure in 2019 and again in 2022. In 2019, Holcomb’s work in the public health arena was honored by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, which presented him with the Circle of Hope Award. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Republican Governors Association, having previously served as its policy chairman.
A South Bend, Indiana, native, Watkins’ entrepreneurial drive first appeared in high school, but at Purdue, it blossomed. Participating in the university’s Undergraduate Co-op Program, Watkins teamed up with two fellow students to co-found Socio, a modern event technology platform that manages the full life cycle of virtual, in-person and hybrid conferences.
Serving prestigious clients like Microsoft, Google and PepsiCo, Socio’s success earned Watkins a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2020. The following year, Socio was acquired by Cisco and is now known as Webex Events, for which Watkins serves as chief customer officer.
Coats, Chunara give student responses
Giving the student response at the Division I ceremony was Olivia Buenconsejo Coats of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in business marketing. During her time at Purdue, Coats held internships with a Chicago-based management consulting company, the John Martinson Honors College and Purdue Athletics. Coats plans to pursue a career in dentistry.
Sameeta Chunara of Plano, Texas, who received a Bachelor of Science in public health, was the student responder for the Division II ceremony. Chunara is interning at The Aga Khan University in Pakistan as part of an international program. Chunara will pursue a Master of Health Administration degree at Tulane University.
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top 4 in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 12 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.
Writer/Media contact: Carly Rosenberger, firstname.lastname@example.org