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A Message from the President - March 2011

When I was growing up, there were few female role models in science. I largely found my own way to becoming an astrophysicist, strongly motivated by the early excitement of our nation's first missions to the moon and the planets.

Happily, Purdue today is a place where female role models thrive, not only in the sciences but across all disciplines. Women leaders abound, from three college deans to several vice presidents and provosts, to many school and department chairs.

They are also among our most honored faculty members. Connie Weaver, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition in the College of Health and Human Sciences, was recently elected to the Institute of Medicine. Jennifer Foray, assistant professor of history, was recognized by the Library of Congress as a Kluge Fellow and is conducting research in Washington D.C. Susanne Hambrusch, professor of computer science, is leading the National Science Foundation's Division of Computing and Communication, and Monica Cox is a Presidential Award winner in engineering education. Mary Wirth, professor of chemistry, is being honored as one of Purdue's Distinguished Women Scholars.

ADVANCE -- Purdue faculty members

ADVANCE -- Purdue faculty members

The offices of the President and Provost are committed to fostering the success and leadership of women faculty. Within Discovery Park, the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence is developing leadership that helps advance inclusion and broaden representation in academic administration. Purdue is also home to a program funded by the National Science Foundation -- ADVANCE Purdue -- which is designed to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation and advancement of women faculty in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

This month during Women's History Month, we celebrate the spirit, creativity and commitment that Purdue's female faculty bring to our community. Events include the Women for Purdue symposium from March 3 to 5; the 12th Annual Women in Leadership Conference on March 5; and a performance at the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives on March 10 by Purdue alumna Joyce Beery Miles honoring Ellen Swallow Richards. The little-known Richards was a pioneer in higher education and the first female student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Emilia Czyszczon

Emilia Czyszczon

The theme of female pioneers continues in this month's "5 Students Who ...," which features Purdue women who have made history or are poised to make a dramatic impact with their outstanding achievements. One of these remarkable students is Emilia Czyszczon, a sophomore in biological engineering who discovered a previously unidentified virus that will bear her name: Czyszczon1.

2010 Alumni Newsreel

2010 Alumni Newsreel

Purdue has a strong commitment to research like Emilia's and to the success of our students. The Purdue Promise program, which provides financial and personal support for eligible Twenty-first Century Scholars, was recognized in February by the College Board, a nonprofit organization that administers college entrance exams. The program was selected as the Midwestern Region winner in its CollegeKeys Compact 2011 Innovation Awards. Congratulations, Purdue Promise!

Celebrations and accomplishments are the focus of the 56th edition of the Purdue Newsreel, a video collection of University highlights from 2010. The video, "A Nobel Endeavor," is sponsored by the Purdue Alumni Association and is shown to Purdue alumni clubs around the world. I encourage you to take a look for yourself and fuel your Boilermaker Pride; our Purdue family has indeed been busy!

For those of you traveling this month, I wish each of you a safe and relaxing Spring Break. I will be using Spring Break to visit our alumni around the country in a series of "Purdue on the Road" alumni functions. This is also "March Madness" month so best of luck to our basketball teams.

Hail Purdue and hail spring!


France A. Córdova