Tue, 01/21/2020 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) invites the Northwest Indiana community to celebrate diversity and inclusion through the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in two events at its Westville and Hammond campuses Jan. 20 and Jan. 21. Vanessa Allen-McCloud, president and CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, will deliver the keynote presentation at both celebrations. The events are free and open to the community.

“We are proud to host this celebration of Dr. King’s life and message for the 25th year together with our partners and the Northwest Indiana community,” said Laura Odom, associate director of PNW’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Allen-McCloud has served as president and CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana since 2010. She is a certified Civility in the Workplace and Cultural Competence Civility trainer who is in great demand to provide professional development training workshops. Well-recognized for her work in the community, Allen-McCloud serves on several local and national boards, including the Ivy Tech of Lake County Board of Trustees, Horizon Bank Diversity Council, United Negro College Fund NWI Council, Indiana University Northwest Board of Advisors, and National Council of Negro Women. She is a NAACP Lifetime member, and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.

Allen-McCloud earned an associate’s degree in Sociology from Purdue University Northwest, bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Calumet College of St. Joseph, master’s degree in Education from PNW, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.

Karen Bishop Morris, associate professor of English at PNW, will serve as emcee for the event, and musical entertainment will be provided by guitarist Angelo Cicco, Rachel Porter, PNW choir member, and Roy Hamilton, PNW assistant vice chancellor for Educational Opportunity Programs and director of the McNair Achievement Program.

Celebration Reception on the Hammond Campus – Jan. 21, 10:30 a.m.

A program honoring Dr. King will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Jan. 21. The event, featuring the keynote speaker, entertainment and reception, will take place in the Student Union and Library Building, Alumni Hall (Room 360), 2233 173rd Street, Hammond. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of the program.

Event Sponsors

Premier sponsors include: Horizon Bank; Purdue University Northwest Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Gold sponsors include: Sinai Temple; Michigan City Human Rights Commission; Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa. Silver sponsors include: 1st Source Bank; Unity Foundation of La Porte County. Bronze sponsors include: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Sondra M. Craig; La Porte County NAACP; Life Changes, LLC; Michigan City Social Status Commission.

Guests are encouraged to bring new socks, which Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will donate to the local community and abroad. All sizes are welcome.

For more information, visit or contact Laura Odom, associate director of the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, at (219) 785-5545 or To request a disability-related accommodation for these events, please contact the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at or (219) 989-2163 (Hammond) or (219) 785-5545 (Westville).

Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a student-centered university that values academic excellence, supports growth and celebrates diversity. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW fosters a vibrant academic community through high quality and engaging undergraduate and graduate education. For more information about PNW, visit