sealPurdue News

February 19, 2002

Purdue honors four engineering alumni for service, dedication

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Engineering Alumni Association has honored four alumni for service to Purdue engineering, the university, the engineering profession and their communities.

This year's recipients are: Christopher B. Burke, Bradley D. Belcher, Barry J. Effron and Deborah L. Grubbe.

Christopher B. Burke, Rosemont , Ill., received the President's Lifetime Award in recognition of his service and achievements. Burke earned three civil engineering degrees: a bachelor's degree in 1977, a master's in 1979 and, in 1986, a doctorate. He built a career as an urban hydrologist and environmental engineer and in 1986 started his own company, Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. A recognized expert in water resources, Burke frequently teaches hydraulics and hydrology courses at Purdue, the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Burke has served on Purdue's Civil Engineering Advisory Council since its inception 10 years ago and chaired the council for four years. He also took a leadership role for the Chicago committee, coordinating Purdue's Vision 21 Campaign. He also has sponsored student and faculty awards. The Rosemary K. Burke and Edmund M. Burke awards were established as a tribute to his parents. In 1999 Burke and his wife, Susan, were honored with the dedication of the Christopher & Susan Burke Hydraulic Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility to train future Purdue civil engineers. Burke also is active in philanthropic causes in his Chicago-area community.

Three alumni received Engineering Alumni Association Service Awards:

• Bradley D. Belcher, Danville, Ind., earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1982. He is the Integrated Product Team Leader of the Joint Strike Fighter F-120 Engine Program in the Allison Advanced Development Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Corp.

He served 12 years on the Purdue Engineering Alumni Association board of directors and two years as its president. He was a founding member of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Industrial Advisory Council. Belcher has shared his Purdue and professional experience mentoring engineering students, interns and co-ops. He has presented seminars and shares his work and research experience with students and faculty. Belcher was recently named co-campus executive for Purdue University for Rolls-Royce North America. He also serves his community as an assistant scoutmaster and advancement chairman for Boy Scout Troop 302. Belcher's wife, Jane, also earned two Purdue degrees in speech and audiology.

• Barry J. Effron, White Plains, N.Y., earned his bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering in 1967. In the early 1970s, Effron left his logistical engineering job at Martin Marietta to develop computer-assisted software systems for analyzing investment portfolios. His firm, Effron Enterprises Inc., became one of the nation's first software organizations of its kind.

Since selling his business in 1999, Effron devotes himself full time to philanthropic programs domestically, as well as in Israel, Ethiopia, Cuba and the former Soviet Union. As Westchester Campaign chairman for the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York for three years, Effron was responsible for directing a $14 million annual charitable campaign. He is a member of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York board of directors, serves as chairman of Hillels of Westchester, and is a member of the board of directors of Hillel at Purdue. Effron also sits on the board of directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

Effron is an active supporter of Purdue's Jewish Studies Program. He established the Effron Family Scholarship Program for the School of Materials Engineering, which awards scholarships to two students from each class who choose materials science engineering as their major.

• Deborah L. Grubbe, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., earned her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1977, one of nine female chemical engineering students in her class. Grubbe has worked for DuPont 23 years and serves as DuPont's corporate director of safety and health. In 1997, Grubbe challenged Purdue to increase and improve diversity awareness among the administrative staff, faculty, students and alumni. With support from DuPont, which offered a two-year donation in-kind, the Schools of Engineering held its first diversity forum in January of 1998.

A member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, she was the first woman and youngest elected member of Delaware's registration board for professional engineers. Since her graduation she has been a frequent speaker at Purdue's Women in Engineering seminar. She also has been the keynote speaker for the Women in Engineering Career Day and for the Society of Women Engineers awards lunch. She also is a member of the School of Chemical Engineering's New Directions Industrial Advisory Council. Grubbe volunteers her time in Delaware working with the Girl Scouts, the Zoological Society and the Delaware Community Foundation's Fund for Women.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073

Source: Cindy Lawley, assistant director of engineering development and alumni relations, (765) 496-6929,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
Purdue Schools of Engineering

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Publication-quality photographs of Christopher B. Burke, Bradley D. Belcher, Barry J. Effron and Deborah L. Grubbe are available at They are called burke.c.jpeg, belcher.b.jpeg, effron.b.jpeg and grubbe.d.jpeg.

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