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October 11, 2013

Event to honor Purdue donors Richard, Suzanne Belcher

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University President Mitch Daniels will host a community reception Wednesday (Oct. 16) in Rochester to honor local residents Richard and Suzanne Belcher.

The Belchers are longtime Purdue supporters who have given significantly to the College of Agriculture and other areas.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. Eastern time in the Fulton County Library. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by calling 800-213-3044 or emailing events@purdue.edu.

During the event, Daniels also will provide an update on initiatives designed to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students. The initiatives fall into four broad categories: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leadership; world-changing research; transformative education; and affordability and accessibility.

The Belchers most recently have endowed the Belcher Chair in the College of Agriculture to promote leadership, discovery and engagement in environmental sustainability. The college will choose from among several disciplines to award the chair in the area of environmental sustainability deemed most effective.

Earlier, the Belchers established the Richard and Suzanne Belcher Agriculture Scholarship for students in the college.

Predating those gifts is the Chester B. Biddle Memorial Scholarship, which honors Suzanne Belcher's father. 

The Belchers also have supported the College of Liberal Arts; Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; and the John Purdue Club.  

"Richard and Suzanne Belcher show the impact that our supporters have in making Purdue great," Daniels said. "I especially applaud their dedication to making college more affordable by supporting students through their scholarships."

Richard "Dick" Belcher earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Purdue in 1956. He opened First Federal Savings Bank in Rochester in 1966 and grew it to six branches, including one in Mishawaka that was Indiana's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified "green" bank.

Suzanne Belcher earned a bachelor's degree in 1957 in speech pathology and audiology. She was a speech and hearing clinician for Argos County schools.

The family also operates a 1,500-acre farm.

They have three children, Cynthia Maves, Daniel Belcher and Nancy Gruesser.

During the program, Daniels will give the Belchers the President's Council Pinnacle Award, the highest recognition for philanthropic contributions to Purdue.

Also participating in the event will be Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, and Kirk Cerny, president and CEO of the Purdue Alumni Association. 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu 

Eric Putman, College of Agriculture director of advancement, 765-494-8672, eputman@purdue.edu 

Note to Journalists: A media availability with Purdue President Mitch Daniels and Richard and Suzanne Belcher will begin at 3:55 p.m. Eastern time at the library.