Carroll grad delivers Purdue commencement speech

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WEST LAFAYETTE — “Love, integrity, passion and faith — four things that our world does not have enough of.”

Those were the closing sentiments to recent Purdue University graduate Abby Lemert’s commencement speech — values she shared with her fellow alumni from the college of engineering.

She wouldn’t take credit for them without citing her inspiration first.

Lemert, the salutatorian of Carroll High School’s class of 2014, was asked to speak at Purdue’s sixth and final spring commencement ceremony of 2018, but finding the right words wasn’t that easy.

A fan of New York Times best-selling author Bob Goff, Lemert remembered a passage in one of his books, “Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World.” Flipping to the back of its pages, she found her answer in a message from the author, wherein Goff had written this: “I’ve found that the people in my life who have actually been the most influential have also been the ones who were the most available. If you ever want to talk about any of the ideas in this book that ping you, my phone number is (619) 985-4747.” Goff then encouraged readers to give him a call if they felt he could be of help to them.

“I just thought it was crazy that someone would do that, so I called him,” Lemert recalled.

That was how she found her voice.

“He just started saying these words and they really resonated with me,” she said.

The response to Goff’s words are a sign of the values Lemert shares with her favorite author — a form of dedication that hasn’t been without its rewards.

The recent Purdue grad made headlines last year when she was named a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which has given her the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in the United Kingdom beginning in the fall.

“This is a tremendous honor and opportunity,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “Purdue students and alumni have consistently made productive impacts globally, and Abby will be able to follow suit with this opportunity to work with our friends in the U.K.”

The scholarship, which is awarded to no more than 40 scholars in the country each year, is designed to strengthen the relationship between the United States and United Kingdom. Lemert is the first Purdue student to earn the coveted award in 25 years — an honor Northwest Allen County Schools take pride in as well.

“Northwest Allen County Schools is proud to have been part of Abby’s educational foundation and we look forward to watching her flourish in the years to come,” NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel said.

Lemert was also a recipient of Purdue’s Steven C. Beering Scholarship, the university’s most prestigious scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees, room and board, and expenses for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.

During her time at Purdue, Lemert earned a bachelor’s degree in global security engineering — a major of her own design within the field of interdisciplinary engineering.

Lemert’s mother is a literacy instructional assistant at Oak View Elementary School.