April 7, 2017

College of Liberal Arts honors 2017 distinguished alumni

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts will honor five distinguished alumni during its 2017 annual awards banquet on Friday (April 7).

Kathleen Henson, Kim Koeller, Patrick McLaughlin,  Susan McNab and Valerie Alexander are this year’s recipients of the distinguished alumni award. 

  • Henson, of Chicago, is the founder and CEO of Henson Consulting, a national public relations firm located in Chicago. She began Henson Consulting in 2001 to reinvent the modern agency and to provide clients with strategic counsel, unparalleled creativity and tangible results. Henson Consulting offers a wide variety of international, national and Midwest-based clients. Prior to starting her own agency, she was a senior executive at Edelman. She was selected to the “Top Women in public relations” list by PR News in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication from Purdue in 1992. 
  • Koeller, of Chicago, is the managing director of Horizon Group International. She leads growth and innovation projects from strategy to execution for cross-industry clients ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups and mid-size business to Fortune 500 multi-nationals. In addition, Koeller established Gluten and Allergy Free Passport in order to foster global social change for gluten free diets, celiac disease and food allergies. Prior to this, Koeller was a partner with Accenture in the global customer relationship management line of business. She received her bachelor’s degree in French from Purdue in 1979. 
  • McLaughlin, of Dallas, is a 20-year veteran of PepsiCo. Inc. with a broad range of leadership experience in beverages and foods. In 2008 McLaughlin joined Pepsi-Cola North America to lead the human relations function through the acquisition of its two largest bottlers, a $7.8 billion transaction that made Pepsi the largest food and beverage company in North America, doubled the employee population in the United States and Canada and increased the world-wide sales to $66 billion. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organizational communication from Purdue in 1988 and 1991, respectively. 
  • McNab, of Seattle, has served as an officer for more than 30 years in various corporations. She has directed human resources and public relations in the acquisition of three companies, and sale of two, affecting 8,000 total employees. Most recently, she has served as the vice president and chief human resources officer at PEMCO Financial Services in Seattle. Prior to her time with PEMCO, she was the vice president for people services and community partnerships for Starbucks and Seattle Coffee Company from 2001-2005. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Purdue in 1971. 
  • Alexander, of Chicago, is the former chief marketing officer of The Clinton Foundation. She is a senior executive with more than two decades of experience working at the intersection of mobilizing social change and awareness, applying effective communication and marketing expertise and establishing meaningful strategic partnerships. During her seven years at The Clinton Foundation she built and led the global marketing, digital, special events and partnership efforts. Prior to that, she served as a spokesperson and senior communications advisory for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Purdue in 1994.

 The College of Liberal Arts is home to the departments of Anthropology, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology; the Brian Lamb School of Communication; the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts; the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the School of Languages and Cultures. 

Writer: Cat Dillon, dillon16@purdue.edu

Source: Gabby Hlavek, ghlavek@purdue.edu

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