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President's Message - January 2010

Greetings Purdue Supporters,

We launch a new year and a new semester this month by celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of giving and inclusion.


Our weeklong Walk the Talk program, a tradition begun 15 years ago, gives us a chance to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy through direct action as community volunteers and by engaging as audience members at art exhibits, lectures, and performances. If you are on campus, I hope you’ll be able to join some of these activities. If not, I hope you’ll be inspired by what is happening on campus.

We start the week of January 18 with the University’s annual Day of Service, which encourages members of the Purdue community to put words of caring to work by volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. The community also unites in the Care-and-Share drive for the Lafayette Food Finders Food Bank.

williamsPatricia J. Williams, the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law and columnist for the Nation magazine, will give a keynote address on the life and work of King during the University celebration of his life on Thursday, Jan. 21. Williams, a MacArthur Foundation genius grant recipient, is a former Los Angeles deputy city attorney and author of “The Alchemy of Race and Rights.” She will speak on “Seeing a Color-Blind Future.”

The evening also will feature the presentation of the University’s 2010 Dreamer Award to Thelma Snuggs, assistant professor of consumer sciences and retailing in the College of Consumer and Family Sciences. The award is given annually to an individual or organization within the Purdue community whose contributions embody Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of service to others and further the University’s commitment to diversity.


The visual and musical arts are also represented in our activities this month. The Stewart Center Gallery will feature paintings by artist Patrick Earl Hammie (Champaign, Illinois) that respond to the contemporary challenges facing minorities in the United States.

The week concludes on a high note with the 20th anniversary Purdue Jazz Festival, which draws middle and high school musicians from around the state to campus. The weekend-long event will feature close to 100 performances by big bands and combos and a headliner concert by the Dave Holland Quintet on Jan. 22.

five_studentsAs ever, our students inspire us as they return to campus, looking to the future and constantly expanding the University’s reach in hundreds of ways.  We invite you to read about some of these remarkable students in our monthly "Five Students" feature.

As winter brings a snowy wonderland and the chance for sledding and cross-country skiing to West Lafayette, the Purdue campus is as vibrant and energetic as ever with all of these events and the anticipation of a successful spring semester.




France A. Córdova