The Crusader Newspaper Group

Earline Rogers to receive honorary degree from IU Northwest

Indiana University Northwest will host its 51st Annual Commencement on Thursday, May 11 beginning at 4 p.m. at the Genesis Center, located at 5th Avenue and Broadway in Gary. The ceremony is expected to last two hours.

Doors open at 2 p.m. and guests are asked to find their seats by 3:45 p.m. Handicapped accessible seating, which is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, will close between 3:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are not required to attend Commencement.

Ceremony includes honorary degree

A special honor will be bestowed at this year’s ceremony when Chancellor William J. Lowe presents an honorary degree to Gary native Earline Rogers.

Rogers spent 38 years teaching in the Gary public school system. She was first elected to the Indiana Senate in 1990 and retired in 2016. Before serving in the Senate, she was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives for eight years.

Rogers spent her career advocating for better education and has authored and carried numerous pieces of legislation in support of education. These include the Indiana Seal of Biliteracy program; the A-Plus education reform package; anti-bullying reforms; JoJo’s Law for transportation safety; and Heather’s Law, which requires the Department of Education to develop models for Indiana schools to educate students about dating violence.

She has been a leader in creating and sustaining the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and helped create a pathway allowing for casino gaming in Indiana. Her support for health-related legislation and efforts to bring an academic medical center hospital to Gary have been instrumental in the growth of the IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary.

Parking details

Handicapped parking will be available in the Genesis Center Parking Garage (not wheelchair accessible), entry on 4th Avenue, as well as in the lot on 5th Avenue across from the Genesis Center. Family members may drop off handicapped guests at the Genesis Center before parking.

IU Northwest graduates and their guests are invited to park at one of the following free locations:.

  • Massachusetts Street (North): Located off of 5th Avenue at Massachusetts Street on the west side of the street.
  • Massachusetts Street (North): Located off of 5th Avenue at Massachusetts Street on the east side of the street.
  • Pennsylvania Street: Located between 4th and 5th Avenues.
  • Virginia Street (West): Located between 4th and 5th Avenues (Gary RailCats parking lot)
  • Virginia Street (North): Located at the corner of 4th Avenue and Virginia Street on the east side of the street.
  • Virginia Street (South): Located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Virginia Street directly across from Hellman’s Tire Service.
  • Carolina Street (North): Located off of either 4th Avenue or 5th Avenue at Carolina Street.
  • Carolina Street (South): Located off of 5th Avenue and Carolina Street.

For convenience, the IU Northwest RedHawk Shuttle will provide free transportation to and from the Genesis Center at the following location:

  • RailCats parking lot on Virginia Street, between 4th and 5th Avenues — the stop will be located within the parking lot near 5th Avenue near the handicapped parking spots.
  • The RedHawk Shuttle will drop off/pick-up directly in front of the Genesis Center. The shuttle will operate from 2 until 4:30 p.m., and will resume 15 minutes following the closing of Commencement and run for one hour. There will be two shuttles operating, making rounds every five to 10 minutes.

Designated free parking areas and RedHawk Shuttle location pick-up/drop-off locations will be marked with signage. IU Police Department – Northwest and Gary Police Department will be on hand to assist with traffic control.

For more information on this year’s graduation program, go to


About the Class of 2017


IU Northwest will confer 643 degrees at this year’s ceremony. The Class of 2017 will collectively receive 64 associate’s degrees, 532 bachelor’s degrees and 47 master’s degrees. Sixty-nine percent of this year’s graduating class are female and nearly 25 percent are over the age of 30. The most numerous degree to be granted is the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology followed by the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The oldest and youngest graduating students are 64 and 20 years of age, respectively.

Recent News

Scroll to Top