Message from President Daniels

November 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends,

It's another month when I'm able to write to you with more good news from Purdue.

As I shared a few weeks ago, we welcomed one of our largest freshman classes in recent history — and our most academically prepared ever — this fall, including the most Hoosier students since 2009 and about 17% more underrepresented minority students than last year's freshman class.

But we know that simply getting students here isn't enough. We are committed to finding new and better ways to help them succeed while they're here so they can find fulfilling lives and careers after graduation. An important piece of that puzzle is retaining students from year to year, a metric we've worked diligently to improve over the last several years.

For the first time on record, the freshman-sophomore retention rates for African American students (92.2%) surpassed that of the class as a whole (91.8%) this year. This is more than a Purdue first. We are unaware of any other university where this has occurred. Hispanic students also reached a new high (91.1%), nearly equaling the overall rate.

graph comparing 2012 retention of underrepresented students vs 2015. The underrepresented minority retention was 87.8% in 2012 and grew to 90.9% in 2015. The retention of African American students was 87.3% in 2012 and grew to 92.2% in 2015. The overall retention was 91% in 2012 and grew to 91.8% in 2015

I shared this and other good news with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education during their visit to campus last month, including the overall decline in the cost of attending Purdue over the last four years, which so far has saved Purdue families some $226+ million by holding tuition, room and board flat, compared to average room and board increases in the Big Ten and the national average tuition and fee increases since 2012. You may recall that tuition for the 2017-18 school year will also remain unchanged.

A New Metric In Higher Education Rankings

Perhaps you've seen the recent new university ranking from the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, in which Purdue ranks 37th nationally and tied with Cal Berkeley for 4th among public universities.

What makes this ranking unique and, we think, more valuable than many others for our students and their families is that it measures the outputs of a university, like graduation rates, alumni starting salaries and graduates' ability to pay off their loans — rather than factors like how big its endowment is or how many student applications it denies each year.

Purdue Engagement in Taiwan and India

I spent the last week of October visiting with hundreds of Purdue alumni and friends in Bangalore, India and Taipei, Taiwan. While we were there, we announced a new doctoral fellowship program with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, one of India's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, which will fund two new fellows from India each year to work on their doctorates at Purdue.

Purdue alumni and friends with Mitch Daniels

Football Head Coach Update

Many of you have written to me in recent months expressing your ongoing frustration with the football team's athletic performance over the past several seasons.

By now you've likely heard that after consultation with our new Athletics Director Mike Bobinski, Darrell Hazell has been relieved of his duties as head football coach. Darrell represented Purdue with great honor and integrity, but during his three and a half years the program was unable to deliver the excellence to which we aspire in all things.

Across our 20 sports, Purdue just completed one of our most successful years. Twelve teams earned NCAA postseason opportunities and five finished in the top 25 nationally. Fourteen squads achieved upper-half Big Ten Conference finishes, an increase of five from 2014-15. Our combined average finish in the Big Ten was sixth, a significant increase from 11th a year ago and our best since we were fifth (in a smaller conference) in 2009-10. For the third straight year, Purdue won the Governor's Cup, our all-sports competition against IU, earning more points than ever before, and tying for the most ever by either school. Football was an obvious exception to this positive pattern — a situation we are determined to rectify.

We will never relax our commitment to the principles of good conduct, academics or financial integrity in our athletics program. But our commitment to excellence in athletics, especially football, should be obvious. Construction is moving quickly on the $65 million Football Performance Complex, which will be among the nation's finest. The Board of Trustees just approved our recommendation to light Ross-Ade Stadium for night games. We've reduced the university administrative charge to the Athletics Department, adding more than one million dollars annually to its budget. Mike Bobinski will soon be searching for the new leadership to turn these and future investments into winning football records.

Although I don't have an update to share on potential candidates just yet, I do thank you for your continued interest in Purdue's football program. I look forward, as you do, to a return to genuine competitiveness.

Faculty Distinctions

Our faculty are routinely honored for their excellent work in the classroom, community and research lab. Here are a few who have been recognized recently:

Faculty awards and recognition
NameDepartmentAward
Arvind Varma Chemical Engineering Arden L. Bement Jr. Award
Jian-Kang Zhu Plant Biology Herbert Newby McCoy Award
Dave Ebert Electrical and Computer Engineering Visualization Technical Achievement Award
Ellen Gundlach Statistics Celebration of Excellence in Teaching Award

Celebrating Purdue Olympians

We were proud to have our Purdue Olympians on campus in mid-October to celebrate their successes at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Together, they brought home four medals, including a gold in women's eight rowing by alumna Amanda Elmore (the first-ever gold medal for a female Purdue Olympian), two silver medals in synchronized diving by alumnus David Boudia and sophomore Steele Johnson, and a bronze by David Boudia in individual 10-meter platform diving.

Among their many well-deserved celebrations were special recognitions during the Purdue Homecoming football game and during the October meeting of the Purdue Board of Trustees.

olympians Amanda Elmore, Steele Johnson, and David Boudia on the field of Ross-Ade stadium

All three conducted themselves with maturity, integrity and true sportsmanship during the Olympics, and are true role models of what it means to be a Boilermaker.

Bicentennial and Sesquicentennial Celebrations

I had fun taking part in the Indiana Bicentennial celebration last month, joining our students, faculty, staff and alumni in carrying the Purdue-designed torch through campus.

president Mitch Daniels running with the bicentennial torch

Now, we're gearing up for Purdue's sesquicentennial celebration in 2019. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming months on how you can share your ideas for special projects and events to commemorate 150 years of Boilermaker pride.

Sincerely,

Mitch Daniels
President

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