May 6, 2024

More than 1,500 Purdue Global graduates cap off college careers at commencement ceremonies

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Allyssa Spates knows a little about detours and alternative paths to a destination. She has lived it firsthand. That’s why, as this year’s spring Purdue Global commencement speaker, she encouraged the more than 1,500 students graduating not to be discouraged or afraid of detours in their own educational or professional journeys.

“I have heard these questions — these doubts — about my journey one too many times,” Spates said. “Your response to those people is not words but actions. Actions of taking those detours and arriving at the best destination yet. Always remind yourself that these new opportunities and routes will mold you into an incredible professional and person — ultimately giving you endless prospects in your future.”


Spates also challenged the graduates to use their degrees for more than just their professional lives, encouraging them to help better their communities and, ultimately, the world.

“Look for opportunities to serve and volunteer within your community. Use those project management skills to help organize a fundraiser for a nonprofit. Use those teaching skills and volunteer to tutor students in your community. And utilize those advocacy skills to represent topics before public officials that are meaningful to you and your communities,” she said. “All of these skills acquired across many degree programs can and should be used outside of the professional sector to help communities — and those within our communities who are less fortunate.”

On May 4, Purdue Global held its commencement on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette — the 20th commencement since Purdue Global’s formation in 2018 — with more than 8,000 guests, faculty and staff members in attendance.

Purdue Global graduates in Elliott Hall. Purdue Global graduates celebrate during the May 4 commencement ceremonies at Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus. (Purdue Global photo/Greta Bell)
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The graduates, including 301 Indiana residents, represented all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Twenty countries were represented as well, including Bangladesh, Bermuda, Canada, Greece, India, Mexico and the Philippines. There were 242 graduates affiliated with the military. Thirty-nine systemwide Purdue University employees were among those earning a Purdue Global degree or certificate via the Purdue Global education benefit.

Chancellor Frank Dooley addressed the 1,100 graduates participating in person, as well as 400-plus joining virtually, acknowledging the diversity of Purdue Global graduates, including the fact that nearly half of the university’s students are the first in their families to complete college.

“It’s not only about the physical space but about the people in the room,” Dooley said. “We have so many people here who have come to celebrate you. Purdue Global is a growing momentum. More and more people, because of graduates like you, are discovering what a powerful entity they are for change. Change starts with people. Change starts with educated people leading the world. Purdue Global graduates are ready!”

Klnisha Clark of Salem, Oregon, and Tahanna Tucker of Merrillville, Indiana, performed the national anthem during the ceremonies. Clark earned her Juris Doctor from Purdue Global Law School. Tucker, an administrative assistant at Purdue University Northwest, used the Purdue Global education benefit to earn her Bachelor of Science in psychology, graduating with a 4.0 GPA and designation of summa cum laude.

Purdue Global is Purdue’s online university for working adults, with more than 36,000 students enrolled and an estimated 11,000 degrees and certificates awarded yearly. The current student snapshot at Purdue Global includes these data points:

  • 59% of students are 30 years of age or older.
  • 40% of students are from underserved populations.
  • 52% of students have a child or other dependents.
  • 50% are first-generation college students.
  • Approximately 10,000 are military-affiliated students, a population that includes uniformed personnel, veterans and eligible dependents.

Purdue Global is an expansion of Purdue’s 21st-century land-grant mission to provide educational access to all people. Purdue Global helps prepare students for what’s next in their lives and careers by offering programs that lead to a degree backed by Purdue University.

The next Purdue Global commencement is scheduled for Oct. 5, 2024, in West Lafayette.

About Purdue Global

Purdue Global is Purdue’s online university for working adults who have life experience and often some college credits. It offers flexible paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, military service and previous college credits, no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and backed by Purdue University. For more information, visit

Writer/Media contact: Adam Bartels, 

Sources: Beth Smith, Allyssa Spates

Note to journalists: Photos and clips of speeches from Purdue Global Chancellor Frank Dooley and the keynote speaker, along with the national anthem performances, are available via Google Drive.

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