Positive about Purdue group marks 25 years

November 8, 2012  


Positive about Purdue

Positive about Purdue group members are, from left, Nancy Cross, senior associate athletics director; Gerald Krockover, professor emeritus of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences; John Sautter, senior advisor for the Purdue Alumni Association; Nikki Horner, who was associate director of the alumni association before retiring; and Don Gentry, who was dean of the College of Technology and vice provost for engagement before retiring. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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A group that meets regularly to discuss the great things happening at Purdue is celebrating its 25th year in existence this semester.

The Positive about Purdue group began meeting in December 1987. That year, John Sautter, now senior advisor for the Purdue Alumni Association, was one of six University employees who endeavored to create small groups that would meet regularly to share positive news about Purdue. Twenty-five years later, all those groups have disbanded -- except for Sautter's.

"I think one of the reasons we've stuck together is because we so enjoy each other's company, and we're all deeply committed to Purdue," says Sautter, who was formerly vice president for housing and food services. "We've all come to look forward to learning what's going on in each other's lives and sounding off about the great things on campus."

The group consists of five members: Sautter; Nancy Cross, senior associate athletics director; Don Gentry, who was dean of the College of Technology and vice provost for engagement before retiring; Nikki Horner, who was associate director of the alumni association before retiring; and Gerald Krockover, professor emeritus of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. A sixth member, Robert Britt, who was director of the Purdue Student Health Center (PUSH) before retiring, died about three years ago.

The group has met for lunch at some of campus' most iconic locations, including at the 50-yard line of Ross-Ade Stadium, in Mackey Arena's new addition and on the Loeb Playhouse stage in Stewart Center. The group also has dined in places such as the flight simulator at the Purdue Airport, the wine cellar in Nelson Hall of Food Science and Discovery Learning Research Center.

In addition to their camaraderie and shared love of Purdue, the group's professional diversity keeps meetings lively and interesting, members say. Plus, the group offers an opportunity for members to talk with fellow Purdue employees without the pressure of an agenda.

"When we get together, there's truly no agenda other than to have a good time being positive about Purdue," Cross says. "It's a good way to re-energize and recharge."

This semester, the group marked its 25th anniversary with a low-key lunch at the John Purdue Room in Marriott Hall. The scene was, members say, typical of Positive about Purdue meetings -- personal updates were mixed with a healthy dose of good-natured ribbing. Once the topic of conversation turned to the University, the group discussed their excitement about incoming President Mitch Daniels and other major on-campus happenings

Although the group has witnessed the tenure of several University presidents, half a dozen football coaches and even more changes to college and school leadership, there's one thing they know won't change: The group will never stop meeting or being positive about Purdue.

"The common thread for all of us is that our Purdue pride overflows," Gentry says. "Through thick and thin, we're loyal to Purdue -- and we always will be."

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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