Purdue Northwest Athletics Pays Special Tribute to John Friend
Hammond, Ind. – In a formal dinner and ceremony at Purdue Northwest’s Fitness & Recreation Center, the PNW Pride paid a special tribute to one of its long-time athletic administrators, John Friend. During the ceremony that included nearly 200 of Friend’s family, friends and colleagues, the University also officially announced the naming of its Fitness & Recreation court as “John Friend Court” and bestowed upon Friend the title of Director of Athletics Emeritus.
“This was a very special night in Purdue Northwest Athletics history,” said Rick Costello, Purdue Northwest Director of Athletics. “To recognize John and his family with these tributes after everything he has done over the years for Pride Athletics is truly an honor. His leadership has been an inspiration to so many and now his name will forever be tied to this University.”
Following a social hour and dinner, the ceremony opened with a special welcome and reflection by Dr. Regina Biddings-Muro, PNW Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement. Long-time friend and former Assistant Vice Chancellor for Media Relations and Communications Wes Lukoshus offered a historical perspective of Friend’s storied career.
Following remarks from former student-athlete Ben Simmons (Class of ’92), PNW Chancellor Dr. Thomas L. Keon and Costello made the special presentation to unveil the name of “John Friend Court.” After the presentation, Friend was given the stage to reflect on the night and share his reactions to the enthralled crowd.
Over his 37 years associated with Purdue Northwest Athletics, Friend has left a lasting impression. He served as Director of Athletics for the former Purdue University Calumet for 20 years prior to his retirement in 2001 and then held interim AD titles in both 2007 and 2011.
Friend played a pivotal role in the ground-breaking agreement between PNW and the City of Hammond to develop Dowling Park, a comprehensive outdoor athletic facility. He has received many honors for his exemplary work in the field, including induction into the NAIA, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Purdue Northwest, Lipscomb, and Munster Halls of Fame.