Two Purdue University Northwest (PNW) alumni, Donald L. Babcock and Alexis Vazquez Dedelow, return to their alma mater during PNW’s spring 2018 commencement ceremonies to impart wisdom from their life journeys with graduates.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue Northwest, Babcock went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. He is now director of economic development for Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), the largest energy distribution company in Indiana.
Raised in Highland, Indiana, and with more than 40 years of experience in the energy business, Babcock has held numerous leadership positions at NIPSCO and NiSource (NIPSCO’s parent company). He speaks at commencement ceremonies on Friday (5/4) on the Hammond Campus and on Monday (5/7) on the Westville Campus.
A 1994 PNW graduate in political science and government, Vazquez Dedelow went on to earn a juris doctorate from The John Marshall Law School in 2002. She started her own law practice and was sworn in as Referee to the Lake Superior Court, Juvenile Division in 2017.
Vazquez Dedelow recounts for graduates at both commencement ceremonies on Saturday (5/5) on the Hammond Campus, her professional journey as the daughter of first generation Americans and the life lessons she’s gained along the way.
“My parents were raised in Mexico. They came to northwest Indiana looking for a better life and hopeful for a better future. They raised seven children in Gary and East Chicago. My parents taught us the value of hard work and the value of a good education,” said Vazquez Dedelow.
In addition to her legal career, Vazquez Dedelow is majority owner of radio stations WJOB AM 1230 and 104.7 FM, in Hammond. She said, “As I stand before you today, I must admit that some days I still can’t believe what’s happened.”
PNW’s 2018 spring graduating class comprises 1,091 individuals receiving undergraduate degrees and 179 earning master’s degrees. Some 922 degree honorees are expected to participate in the four PNW ceremonies.
The graduations also include presentations of a Chancellor Medallion to the graduating senior in each of the university’s five academic colleges with the highest grade point average.
Medallion recipients are: Brook Foltz of Michigan City (Business), Phillip Lakich of Crown Point (Engineering & Sciences), Nicole Moes of Highland (Humanities, Education & Social Science), Kasey Kulesa of Munster (Nursing) and Matthew Zmierski of Portage (Technology).