Ridgway to receive Purdue's Dreamer Award

January 18, 2012

Kenneth Ridgway

Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ken Ridgway, a professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, will receive Purdue University's 2011 Dreamer Award during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 18) in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse.

The ceremony is part of the keynote lecture of Purdue's celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The award, established in 2004, is given annually to an individual or organization within the Purdue community whose contributions embody King's vision of service to others and furthers the university's commitment to diversity.

Ridgway, a member of the Lenape (Delaware) Nation, has taught at Purdue since 1992.

"Dr. Ridgway is a great example of somebody who understands the 'fierce urgency of now,' " said Carolyn E. Johnson, director of the Diversity Resource Office at Purdue. "His dedication and hard work has been essential in bringing a new appreciation for the vibrant Native community at Purdue."

Ridgway helped create the Tecumseh Project, which helps graduate students develop research projects on Native American lands and within their tribal communities.

The project served as the foundation for the establishment of the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Program in 2007. With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the program provides financial and academic support to Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian graduate students studying for degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. Ridgway is co-project investigator for the Sloan Program and has helped connect Purdue with Native American tribal communities.

The Tecumseh Project also helped lead to the creation of the Native American Educational and Cultural Center at Purdue.

"I'm deeply humbled to receive the 2012 Purdue Dreamer Award that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," Ridgway said. "Dr. King's passion for justice and his pursuit of equal treatment of all people has been an inspiration to me and so many others. I'm especially pleased that the award comes from Purdue University; institutions of higher learning are where justice and opportunity meet."

Ridgway also has mentored several Native American students. He currently serves as the faculty adviser for the American Indian Science and Engineering Science student chapter and continues to support the students' events.

Writer:  Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Sources: Carolyn E. Johnson, 765-494-7307, cjohnson1@purdue.edu

                  Kenneth Ridgway, 765-494-3269, ridge@purdue.edu

Related websites:

Purdue University's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Purdue University Native American and Cultural Center