On Thursday, Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) celebrated some of its graduating students during an awards banquet. CCSJ, a small, private four-year institution located in Whiting, Indiana that offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees hosted the banquet celebration for some of the college’s high-achieving graduates across different departments and degrees. Among the awards were those of academia, leadership, and spirit.
“My greatest reward is being able to meet the students, so to know most of them that came up and got awards and know a little bit about them is very exciting to me,” said CCSJ President Dr. Amy McCormack.
This was McCormack’s first year serving as the college’s president, and she enjoyed being able to celebrate the achievements of the graduates she has come to know during the past school year.
“I attend a lot of athletic events, so I’m always cheering them on, but then to be able to be here and celebrate their academic success and other student engagement success is real great,” she said. “It brings it full circle.”
The evening began with a cocktail hour for faculty, graduates, and their guests to mingle and converse. The ceremony then began with a speech by Dr. Ginger Rodriguez, Vice President of Academic Affairs at CCSJ. She took the guests back to 1837 with words from famous poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, pointing out the students’ many upcoming challenges and opportunities in the world.
“Find answers about what is good and true in nature,” she said during her speech. “Read voraciously, and then come to your own conclusions about what you read. And seek out every experience you can find to understand the society we share and to have an impact on it.”
After Rodriguez’s speech, President McCormack delivered an invocation, and guests were served dinner. Following dinner, professors and administrators announced awards in their respective departments.
Among these awards was the International Student Business Management Award, given to Class of 2018 Valedictorian Erwin Herman Krackow. Originally from Colombia, Krackow did not know what a valedictorian was when he was first told the news, but he is excited to speak at commencement.
“I had no clue about the meaning of being a valedictorian,” he said. “But it’s a huge honor and responsibility to speak on behalf of the class of 2018.”
Krackow attended CCSJ on a tennis scholarship, but he also liked the fact that he would be in small classes at the school, something he knew would be beneficial due to his language barrier. This small school atmosphere is a common reason among many CCSJ students for attending the institution. Psychology major Samantha Smith said she appreciates the family aspect of the school and how tight-knit everyone becomes during their journey there.
“You become close with almost everybody here, and they give you so many experiences that you can partake in,” she said. “So you become a family with everybody but then you become a part of the community around the area as well.”
As the graduates prepare to walk across the stage, accept their diplomas, and move forward in their life following graduation, President McCormack sees bright futures ahead for them.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of students, and I feel confident that they’ve gotten a great education and are great people who will go on to do great things,” she said.
CCSJ’s commencement will take place on Saturday, May 19, at noon. For more information, visit the school’s website at www.ccsj.edu.