Beering, who, under Purdue policy, would have been required to step down in mid-1998, has agreed to serve until June 30, 2000.
"I do not believe there is a person in the world more capable of leading our university for the rest of this century," said Board Chairman J. Timothy McGinley, who proposed the waiver of the policy. "He is as tireless and vigorous today as he was when he came to the office."
The trustees, meeting at Purdue's Calumet campus in Hammond, unanimously endorsed the extension. Beering took office at Purdue in 1983 and will be 65 on Aug. 20. Purdue policy, outlined in a 1987 executive memorandum, states that senior administrators must retire by the last day of the fiscal year following their 65th birthday.
"The past decade has been difficult for America's colleges and universities," McGinley said. "They have been beset with steeply rising costs, declining state support, tremendous increases in unfunded mandates, and often hostile scrutiny by politicians and the news media. However, Steve Beering's leadership has guided Purdue skillfully and surely, and our university has remained strong and stable. We have avoided the setbacks and uncertainty that have beset many of our peer institutions."
McGinley cited a long list of Beering's accomplishments during his presidency, including his prominence at the national level, a strong emphasis on undergraduate teaching, a doubling of research funding, $355 million in major building projects, and an increase in private support from less than $20 million to more than $70 million a year.
Beering said he and his wife, Jane, welcomed the opportunity to continue their service to Purdue. "We are deeply honored by this vote of confidence from the board of trustees," the president said. "Our time at Purdue has been the most important period in our lives. I love the university and its students. I deeply respect my faculty and staff colleagues, and I look forward to meeting the challenges that remain during the rest of this century."
Beering was named the ninth president of Purdue in 1983 after serving as dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the I.U. Medical Center.
A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he subsequently was graduated from the Pitt School of Medicine and spent more than 12 years in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. During his military career, he served as an adviser to the U.S. surgeon general in internal medicine and was a medical consultant on the U.S. space programs' early attempts to put humans in orbit.
His administration at Purdue has been marked by efforts to emphasize undergraduate teaching and enhance faculty recognition through the creation and funding of special professorships. The number of distinguished and named professorships has grown from 21 in 1983 to more than 60 today.
Beering also has led a major effort to build and beautify the university's campuses. Major construction projects completed under his administration in West Lafayette have included a Liberal Arts and Education Building; a $32 million power plant expansion; Hillenbrand Hall, a student residence; and major additions to the engineering, veterinary medicine and athletic complexes. A new food science and biotechnology complex and a golf course renovation are now under construction. The campus landscape and skyline have been transformed by the a new bell tower and the creation of several outdoor malls.
During his administration, annual support for sponsored research has grown to more than $130 million. In 1989, Beering launched the Vision 21 campaign, the most ambitious private fund-raising effort in Purdue's history. In five years, it raised more than $330 million, surpassing its goal by more than $80 million.
Beering has held senior positions with numerous national and state committees, boards of directors and educational policy-making groups. He is the immediate past president of the Association of American Universities and was co-chairman of the NCAA Presidents' Commission Subcommittee on Gender Equity.
He is a member of the National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine.
Writer: Jeanne V. Norberg, (765) 494-2096; e-mail, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
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