Purdue celebrates Class of 2021 with in-person ceremonies

WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue University celebrated the Class of 2021 with a special in-person ceremony on Saturday (May 15) at Ross-Ade Stadium.

The ceremony was for all undergraduate candidates (all schools and colleges), professional candidates (Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Doctor of Pharmacy) and master’s degree candidates. There were 4,679 undergraduate candidates, 213 professional candidates and 612 master’s candidates who can now call themselves Purdue alumni.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels and Nathan Peercy, a senior in the College of Science from Cupertino, California, drive around Ross-Ade Stadium on the “couch cart.” The cart delivered Daniels to the speaker’s platform for Saturday’s commencement ceremony. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)

In his keynote address to graduates, Purdue President Mitch Daniels talked about Boilermakers’ place as bold leaders and how their experiences at Purdue, particularly in navigating the pandemic as they completed their education, prepared them.

The Graduate School will have its Ph.D. ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday (May 16) at Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music for 198 doctoral candidates. Purdue Provost Jay Akridge will speak at that ceremony.

During Saturday’s event in Ross-Ade, Purdue awarded two honorary doctorates. Greg Hayes, chief executive officer of Raytheon Technologies Corp., and Jack Calhoun, senior advisor at McKinsey & Co., were the two recipients.

Hayes received his honorary degree from the Krannert School of Management. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management from the School of Management in 1982.

Calhoun received his honorary from the College of Health and Human Sciences. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in technology from Purdue in 1987. He serves as chair of the Student Life Advisory Council at Purdue. 

Purdue also recognized several top students who were recipients of the university’s highest awards during the 2020-21 academic year. Alexandra “Sasha” Kipnis was this year’s recipient of the Flora Roberts Award. Zachary Marshall received this year’s G.A. Ross Award.

More than 5,500 graduates from Purdue University participated in the spring commencement ceremony at the West Lafayette campus on Saturday, May 15. Many celebrated the first in-person commencement since December 2019 by decorating their mortarboards. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)