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A Message from the President - January 2011

Happy new year to the Purdue family! I hope this new year brings you joy, peace and reward.

In December more than 2,900 students graduated from Purdue; we wish them well in their new endeavors and hope they return often to their alma mater.

The eyes of the world were on Professor Ei-ichi Negishi and Purdue last month as Negishi accepted the Nobel Prize in Chemistry from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Nobel ceremony

Professor Ei-ichi Negishi accepts the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

I was honored to be able to experience the Nobel ceremony and the inspiring events that surrounded it. The weeklong celebration of press events, lectures and ceremonies showcased the laureates' work and excellence. I can think of no greater role model for our students than a Nobel laureate among us, and one who demonstrates such optimism as Professor Negishi.

The Nobel events capped off a landmark year for Purdue's faculty.

Record levels of research funding -- at $440 million -- reflect impressive gains that will continue to influence Purdue's programs, discovery and learning for years.

The research efforts of faculty and administrators across the University have resulted in significant advances in drug discovery and delivery, energy issues and addressing food shortages worldwide. Progress on these fronts is essential because it demonstrates our success in taking on grand challenges and impacting the world in meaningful and positive ways.

MFRI Our Heros Tree

Purdue's MFRI partnered with libraries around the globe this fall to present the "Our Heroes Tree" initiative, which honors service members with handmade ornaments.

One example of the timely importance of Purdue's research efforts is the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) based in our College of Health and Human Sciences. Recently the recipient of a $6.3 million grant from Lilly Endowment, the institute is the nation's leading academically based military research organization. Researchers in MFRI conduct studies about, with and for military families. Their discovery plays a critical role in Indiana, where the majority of our service members and veterans are part of the National Guard or Reserves, in providing assistance and generating tools and knowledge that benefit military families.

Building on Purdue's legacy of outreach and service, the MFRI partnered this fall with libraries around the globe to present the "Our Heroes' Tree" initiative. Handmade ornaments honoring service members past and present were collected at libraries nationwide and displayed online. Ornaments can be viewed via their searchable database at the Virtual Our Heroes' Tree.

Discovery and outreach that crosses disciplines and makes contact with those in need; the "new synergies" laid out in our strategic plan are coming to life.


Purdue ME students' Snobot machine in action.

Our faculty members and institutes are not the only ones being recognized for research excellence. Our students -- already ranked among the best for their level of preparedness and real-world experience -- are demonstrating their talents with innovative research.

In December, our mechanical engineering students were featured on several national news outlets for their "Snobot" invention, a robot run on batteries and sensors, which can plow snow without human involvement.

Our students are also making headlines in the computer sciences. This fall, a team of Purdue students traveled to New Orleans to take part in the SC10, the world's largest supercomputing competition. The "Cluster Challenge" team was one of eight selected to compete against other student teams from around the world.

MLK Day of Service

Students Yuntian Wang, Emily Ellsworth and Jackie Logan paint an apartment owned by Lafayette Transitional Housing during the 2010 MLK Day of Service.

These students exemplify the future leaders we are so proud to count among our Boilermaker family.

This month we welcome students and faculty back to campus for the start of spring semester. Once again, campus will be full of activity and opportunities for engagement and growth. During January, the Purdue community will observe Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with our annual Day of Service on Jan. 17, when faculty, staff and students volunteer to help at nonprofit agencies around the community.

With the start of the new year, biennial budget discussions begin. Purdue looks forward to partnering with the State of Indiana in meeting our goals for excellence and distinction in higher education and service.

I am looking forward to a new semester, a new year, and I can't wait to see what Purdue does next. Each of our students, faculty, and staff members has raised the bar high, and we have reason to be proud of our accomplishments.

Hail Purdue!


France A. Córdova