Dear Purdue alumni and friends,
It's always more fun to deliver good news, and that makes this month's update fun to write. Here at your university, applications are soaring, some of our most promising projects have received record-setting support, and our talented students are winning some of the world's most prestigious scholarships. We've always had much to be proud of, and recent months have given us even more reason.
With the admissions review cycle well underway, more high school seniors are seeking admission to Purdue than ever before. We've received more than 44,000 applications, a 14% increase over last year, for the fall 2015 incoming freshman class. Few, if any, other colleges have seen an increase close to ours.
Applications surged across all categories, including all academic programs, and among in-state, out-of-state, underrepresented minority and women students. The admissions office reports lots of positive feedback from students and their families regarding the work we're doing to curb the costs of a genuine Purdue education, and believes this growth in applications can be attributed in large part to those efforts.
Our recruiters also deserve thanks for their strategic recruiting in the U.S. and in countries underrepresented at Purdue. They have dedicated a great deal of time and energy to forging strong relationships with high schools in Indiana and around the nation and world, and to communicating the proven value of a Purdue experience.
Second, just about one month ago, Purdue received the largest cash donation in our history, a $40 million grant from Lilly Endowment to support five transformational projects in the colleges of Engineering and Technology, as well as Purdue Libraries and the Active Learning Center.
This is an important milestone in Purdue's history. It's now our duty to turn it into a significant event in Indiana history by delivering even more world-class engineers, technologists and leaders of all kinds, along with the discoveries, innovations and new jobs that great research produces.
By helping us expand the College of Engineering, our Department of Computer Science and the College of Technology (soon to become the Purdue Polytechnic Institute) over the next few years, the projects funded by this gift hold great promise for Purdue and its land-grant, societal mission.
Third, our enhanced university support for students pursuing scholarships at home and abroad has begun to produce real results.
During the past 18 months, Purdue's Honors College and National and International Scholarships Office (NISO) have strengthened these efforts. NISO's robust program helps students navigate the path toward prestigious scholarships by working with faculty, offering information sessions, and providing one-on-one advising to students with strong academic credentials and leadership qualities that extend far beyond the classroom. I am continually impressed with their success.
In December, Milad Alucozai became one of only 12 U.S. students — and Purdue's first-ever — to receive the Mitchell Scholarship for graduate study in Ireland.
Milad is living proof that Purdue is a destination for students seeking life-changing opportunity. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Milad came to Purdue to study in our College of Health and Human Sciences. He earned a degree in brain and behavioral sciences, a minor in political science, and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He is now a research assistant in Purdue's Interfacial Multiphysics Lab.
He demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to scholarship, leadership and community service, and intends to use his experience at Purdue and in Ireland to build a career making mental health an international priority.
Purdue also recently congratulated our first winner of the Churchill Scholarship in nearly 20 years. Emily Erickson, a senior in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture, was among only 14 U.S. students to receive this competitive award, which funds a one-year graduate degree at the Churchill College at the University of Cambridge in Great Britain. She plans to research more effective treatments and therapeutic solutions to breast cancer while at Cambridge. Already, she has gained significant research experience in some of Purdue's top laboratories, as well as at the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which have prepared her well for this next exciting step.
Though the financial value of these and the many other scholarships NISO helps connect our students with is substantial, the real prize for students is the experience and opportunities, many of them intercultural, that they afford.
These three exciting milestones mark Purdue's latest strides in our strategic areas of STEM leadership, transformative education, and the new era of accountability in higher education.
I hope you share our pride at what our Boilermakers have accomplished in recent weeks. Thank you for the part you play in our success.
Hovde Hall, Room 200 • 610 Purdue Mall • West Lafayette, IN 47907-2040 • (765) 494-9708 • Fax (765) 494-7875