2012 Honorary Degree
France A. Córdova
Dr. France A. Córdova
France A. Córdova was appointed Purdue University's 11th president on July 16, 2007. She has distinguished herself as a world-renowned scientist, educator and administrator.
Previously, Dr. Córdova was chancellor and distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside. From 1996 to 2002, she was professor of physics and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara, where she initiated a "Research Across Disciplines" program that funded and encouraged interdisciplinary and "blue sky" projects. She was chief scientist at NASA from 1993 to 1996.
Dr. Córdova's scientific contributions have been in observational and experimental astrophysics. She has published more than 200 scientific and public policy journal articles, reports, and abstracts. She was co-principal investigator for a telescope experiment that is flying on the satellite XMM-Newton, a cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency.
Dr. Córdova holds a bachelor's degree in English from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology.
She is serving a six-year, senate-confirmed appointment to the National Science Board. She was appointed a citizen member of the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents in 2009, and in January 2012 was elected chair for a three-year term. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and is an associate of the National Academies. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Women in Science.
Dr. Córdova has lent her expertise to numerous boards, including BioCrossroads, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the Indiana Energy Systems Network, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Committee for the National Medal of Science, and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, among others.
She is the winner of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal and was named a 2000 Kilby Laureate for "contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention, and education." She has been one of Science Digest's America's 100 Brightest Scientists Under 40, and one of the 101 Top Influential Leaders in Hispanic U.S. by Latino Leaders magazine. She holds honorary doctorates from Loyola Marymount University and Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and the Escudo de Oro from the University of Antioquia in Colombia.
Dr. Córdova's Purdue presidency is distinguished by a commitment to protecting the value of a Purdue degree, boosting the student experience, and increasing research funding and technology transfer to improve both discovery and delivery for economic impact. She also focused on sustaining Purdue's financial future through cost cutting and cost containment, as well as generating new sources of revenue. Her leadership has expanded Purdue's profile as a higher education leader that addresses global challenges through science and technology. Significant global partnerships have been started or enlarged during her tenure.