Gordon & Carole Mallett

Carole is from McLean, Illinois, where her father had a pharmacy. During the Great Depression, their family moved to Chicago. She lived in Chicago for nine years, then the family moved to Peoria. Carole spent a lot of time in her father’s pharmacy, and she first thought she would be a pharmacist. She was accepted to Purdue in the Pharmacy School. While at Purdue, she realized she had the ability and the talent to be a teacher. She transferred to Bradley University in Peoria to be near her family and to became a teacher. She earned a Masters in Education at Northern Illinois University, and did further graduate work in Student Services Administration there. For 34 years, she had a distinguished career as a teacher and in administration as Director of Student Services at Batavia High School in Batavia, Illinois.

Gordon grew up in Evansville, Indiana. As a boy, he was fascinated by chemistry. His father attended Purdue, and Purdue was a perfect choice for Gordon. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry (1949) and both M.S. (1952) and Ph.D. (1956) in Microbiology from Purdue. After one year as a civilian employee at the U.S. Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland, he was employed by Eli Lilly & Co. where he ended his career as Director of Corporate Quality Assurance.

At Purdue, in 1946, they met and dated. For several years, they did all of the fun things that young people did in those days – movies, dances, walks in Happy Hollow, cokes in the Sweet Shop, and basketball games (they were there when the stands collapsed in Lambert). They visited each other’s home towns. Then their lives took separate paths. Carole to her teaching, Gordon to graduate school. Forty years later, their paths converged again. Gordon said, “We dated and she took me home to visit her mother, who said ‘I remember you!’ We married and celebrated our 25th anniversary not too long ago.”

Together, they have always admired the Purdue Bands (all the way from the Spotts Emrick days) spirit, enthusiasm, and musicianship. They have admired the commitment, the discipline, and hard work of all the bands and the orchestras. Their direct involvement has been with the orchestras, and started fairly recently.

When Gordon and Carole brought their lives back together, they recognized two things that were of special interest that they wanted to build on – the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) and Purdue University, which lead to their involvement with Purdue Bands & Orchestras. They have both been active with the Purdue Association of Indianapolis (PAI), where Carole was previous Vice President and President, and Gordon was Treasurer for almost 20 years. Five years ago, Jay Gephart came to Indianapolis to talk with the officers of PAI. He wanted the Purdue Symphony Orchestra to play a concert at the Hilbert Circle Theatre (HCT) in Indianapolis, and he asked PAI if they could help make that happen. Gordon and Carole had been strong supporters of the ISO, they knew the people in management there, and were able to facilitate the appearance of the Purdue Symphony at HCT. PAI provided publicity in support of the concert. The Purdue Symphony was a great success at HCT. The Malletts were delighted and proud to have helped make their appearance there possible – in direct relationship to two of their major interests in life, Purdue and the ISO.

Following this involvement, Jay indicated he hoped to focus more attention on the Purdue Orchestra in the Purdue Bands & Orchestras Advisory Board. In turn, Jay invited the Malletts to become members. They were involved with the advisory board for several years, and were given the Block “P” Award by Jay at a football game in Ross-Ade Stadium. At Purdue, they have become Life Members of the President’s Council, have endowed the Carole and Gordon Mallett Theatre in Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts, became members of the John Purdue Club, and have held Club Seats since they first became available. “One of the great thrills of our life was to walk on the football field to receive the Block “P” award from Jay,” said Gordon.

In early spring of 2013, the Malletts received a telephone call from Courtney Downey, inviting them to ride in the Boilermaker Special in the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade. “We accepted with glee, had a very good breakfast at Butler University with the band members, and had a marvelous experience riding in the parade,” said Gordon.

A couple of weeks after the parade, they met with Jay and David Varca, an orchestra alum and advisory board member, for breakfast. Both explained that the orchestra did not have a named scholarship and offered them the opportunity to provide one. “This turned out to be right down our alley with major interests in Purdue and the ISO. We agreed, and over the next several years completed funding the scholarship,” said Gordon and Carole.

In their giving to Purdue University, they have focused on activities that benefit students directly. In supporting the Gordon and Carole Mallett Orchestra Scholarship they will be providing personal support to a student(s) who participates in orchestra, and they look forward to meeting recipients over the years. In the orchestra, these are young men and women who are becoming well educated citizens and advocates for the arts. “Our nation has never needed such persons more, and our name will be connected forever with this cause. We could not feel more rewarded. When Jay came to discuss an orchestra scholarship, we were prepared to hear him. We admired Jay for his excellent leadership and programming for the band, and his concern for the orchestra. He recognized that a named orchestra scholarship would appeal to us, and he made it possible for us to sign up for this gift. We tell other people that our bands and our orchestras are made up of students from Science, Engineering, Liberal Arts, and Agriculture, and that they have better than average GPA’s. They have discipline, initiative, and drive. They are achievers. Supporting such young men and women is a source of great personal pleasure and pride. It is something we can do in a world that has lots of needs,” said Gordon and Carole.


Karen Friedland

‘Ever True’ became a part of Karen the day she proudly showed her dad the Purdue University acceptance letter. A state school, financially, was her only option, and the first of many blessings that led her to Purdue. “With a world-renowned reputation, a demand for excellence, and a small-school feel, it just always felt right to me,” said Karen. The Purdue North Central Campus was close to Karen’s home in Portage, Indiana, so she saved money by attending that campus her first year. It was her parents who encouraged her to move to the West Lafayette campus that next year, knowing the whole college experience would be invaluable. They were right! Extracurricular life in Windsor Hall Leadership (Duhme President), co-ed intramurals, Tomahawk, and a part time job kept Karen busy beyond classes. “They were wonderful years that exposed me to people from around the world. Purdue provided leadership opportunities, cultivated different ways of thinking, and provided lifelong friendships. My B.A. degree prepared me for life, and during a 34 year career with Travelers Property Casualty, it served me very well,” said Karen.

Karen was accepted into the Purdue Band program her first year and she still has the newspaper clipping to prove it. Knowing that Purdue did not march her instrument, she taught herself how to play the trumpet in hopes of marching that next fall. She often practiced in the tunnels of Windsor Hall as well. As audition day arrived, she nervously made her way to Elliott Hall of Music. To her surprise, Dr. Al G. Wright was conducting auditions. “I only recall a shy young girl, maybe a little intimidated at the Al G. Wright legacy, and lacking the confidence to continue. I slipped out the side door without playing. It is my only true regret at Purdue and one of only a few in life,” said Karen. Karen’s shyness went away but the love of Purdue Bands & Orchestras continued to grow over the years. When Karen was asked why she is so passionate about Purdue Bands & Orchestras, the answer was very simple. Her extended family was musically gifted. Karen was not one of the better players in her family, but was a six year French horn player and loved it. She knew she could not stop supporting students who had that same passion for playing.

Always a believer in giving back to Purdue University, it was a natural transition to think about a gift to Purdue Bands & Orchestras, specifically the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, that reconnected Karen to the students.

What came next; however, was truly a life changing journey for Karen. While Karen strongly encourages giving annually, it became clear to her that remembering the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band in her estate plan would provide a much greater impact on students for years to come. A call to Jill Anderson in the University Development Office opened that door. Through their initial discussion, Jill immediately got Karen interested in establishing an endowment. Karen’s desire was to specify the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and Jill suggested a meeting with Courtney Downey. “While I could have accomplished everything via phone and email, I wanted to personally meet with Jill and Courtney, knowing this was a large commitment on my part. They answered all of my questions and provided numerous examples of how we could structure the endowment. Stories were exchanged and discussions about the financial need of Purdue “All-American” Marching Band members was a topic,” said Karen. Some may not be aware that even though a budget from the university does exist, 42% of the annual operating budget comes from the generosity of alumni and friends. “With help from a student friend, I questioned a few marching band members about their involvement and if it was financially easy for them to participate. For example, why did they choose to march at Purdue? Do they have to work? How would it affect them if they could not participate due to finances? Their answers ‘sealed the deal’ for me and proved the importance of giving back to such a fantastic organization,” said Karen.

Karen’s personal journey of giving back took a turn just as her nephew, Austin, was about to begin his Purdue career. Just like Karen’s parents wanted for her, she wanted for Austin. “It was heartbreaking and frightening thinking of financing a college education I had not planned for, but determined to keep his dream alive,” said Karen. Last May, they stood outside Elliott Hall of Music where years before she had been. “Both of us had grown so much and I saw so clearly what it meant to Austin that I was able to help. Look at what our gifts can do to so many others, just like Austin. He got the degree. I got the blessing,” said Karen.

When Karen returns to campus, she wonders what if she had tried out that day. Now her mind immediately drifts to what her endowment will do for the marching band, instead. While putting together the endowment, Karen kept thinking of the journey she and Austin took together and it cemented what she wanted to do for others like him. “I would hate to see a young person watching the band, instead of being in it, because of financial hardships. The joy my endowment brings to me is immeasurable, knowing many students, for years to come, will be able to participate in what they truly love. I have said many times that helping Austin was my greatest investment. Now, building this endowment is right up there with it. I hope others will consider joining me,” said Karen.


Drs. Marshall & Berdine Martin

Marshall and Berdine are both originally from farm backgrounds in Western Illinois and met during their undergraduate days at Iowa State University. Following graduation from Iowa State University, they married and spent nearly five years in Bolivia as Methodist missionaries. While they were accepted at several universities for graduate studies, they chose Purdue University for two primary reasons- its excellent academic reputation and the thoughtful correspondence from Dr. Charles French, Head of Agricultural Economics. Marshall earned his MS (1972) and PhD (1976) in Agricultural Economics, and Berdine completed her MS (1972) in Home Economics Education at Purdue University.

Marshall joined the Purdue University faculty in the Department of Agricultural Economics in 1976. Throughout his career, he conducted research, supervised many MS and PhD students, taught various undergraduate and graduate courses, and traveled the state of Indiana as an Extension specialist. After promotion to Professor, he became Chairman of the Departmental Graduate Admissions Committee. Eventually Marshall became Associate Department Head and in 2001 was appointed Senior Associate Dean of Research and Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture. Beyond Purdue, Dr. Martin has worked with several Nobel Laureates in Economics.

Berdine completed her PhD (1986) in Human Nutrition at Purdue University and is currently a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. She teaches and conducts research on osteoporosis, using human and animal model studies funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health and private organizations.

Marshall and Berdine have two children. Dr. Melanie (Martin) Dodd (RPh, PharmD, BCPS) is a Research Associate Professor of Geriatrics in the College of Pharmacy at the University of New Mexico, with a B.S. in Pharmacy degree (1994) from Purdue University and a PharmD. (1997) from the University of New Mexico. Her husband, Dr. Paul Dodd, has BS and PhD degrees from Purdue University in Electrical Engineering. They met and played trumpet together in the Purdue University Jazz Band and the Symphonic Band, where Melanie was a recipient of the Leath Scholarship. They also played trumpet in Lafayette area swing and brass ensembles, conducted by Bob Slatter. Their son, Matthew Martin, has a BS from the University of Evansville and an MBA in Business from Purdue University. He is Vice-President for Marketing at Family Dollar in the United States.

Marshall and Berdine’s first involvement with Purdue Bands & Orchestras was when their daughter, Melanie, played in various bands at West Lafayette High School. Marshall was chair of the Parents Band Board, and Berdine organized various ice cream socials and other fundraisers. When Melanie played in the Purdue Symphonic and Jazz Bands, Marshall and Berdine began to attend concerts on a regular basis. In the early 1990’s, Marshall was asked by Director of Bands & Orchestras, Dave Leppla, to join the Purdue Band Advisory Board in order to explore a possible capital campaign for the department. He was then appointed Chair of the advisory board and served in that position from 1997-2010.

Marshall served as Master of Ceremonies for various band groups traveling abroad. He traveled with the “All-American” Marching Band to Venezuela in 1998 and with the Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Band to Spain in 2015, as part of the department’s study abroad program. Marshall and Berdine traveled with the “All-American” Marching Band to several Bowl Games, including San Antonio, El Paso, Tampa and Pasadena. Marshall also traveled with the “All- American” Marching Band to away football games at Northwestern and Notre Dame. On behalf of the department, he presented several awards on the 50- yard line in Ross- Ade Stadium. The most memorable was an award he presented to astronaut Jerry Ross.

Marshall and Berdine have been generous supporters of Purdue University. They first funded the Marshall Martin Public Policy Scholarship in the Department of Agricultural Economics in the mid-1990s. A few years later, along with financial contributions from Dr. Paul and Melanie Dodd, they established the Martin-Dodd Jazz Band Scholarship and have continued to contribute to it annually. More recently, the Berdine Martin Scholarship was established in the Department of Nutrition Science.

The entire Martin family received an excellent education at Purdue University and have all enjoyed the performances by students in Purdue Bands & Orchestras. Marshall played trumpet in junior high school, high school, at Iowa State University, in the Purdue University Summer Band and still occasionally plays with a Lafayette area brass ensemble. While they enjoy many music styles, from tango to Broadway to 1950s rock and roll to Dixieland, Marshall and Berdine especially enjoy swing bands and they love to dance.

Through their generosity, they wish to support the educational attainment of as many students as possible at Purdue University. Their gifts provide support to an institution that has been so important to them, both personally and professionally. The Martin’s receive much joy to hear Purdue students perform at such a high level and to see them make life-long friendships through this department. It has been a true labor of love for Marshall and Berdine to support our wonderful musicians.

Students in Purdue Bands & Orchestras strive for excellence, both academically and musically. They also have the opportunity to become leaders and team players. They believe these are critical attributes to society in years to come. Sharing experiences through their lives as educators, developing lifelong friendships with students and giving back to society are very important to Marshall and Berdine.

Throughout their careers, Marshall and Berdine have been blessed to receive recognition for their hard work and generosity. Marshall received the “Block P” award from Purdue Bands & Orchestras, as well as the Special Boilermaker Award. He also received the Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to Rural People of Indiana and was inducted into the Book of Great Teachers at Purdue. The faculty and staff of Purdue Bands & Orchestras value Marshall and Berdine’s support, as well as their friendship, and we wish to thank them both for their years of service to Purdue University and Purdue Bands & Orchestras.


 Herb & Janice Wilson

Purdue alumnus Herb Wilson may always regret not continuing to play the trumpet past high school, but he sees the amount of time and dedication that band and orchestra students put into their passion for music while pursuing degrees in other disciplines. And after a successful career as a mechanical engineer and businessman, Wilson wants to see those students rewarded for their efforts.

After serving in the U.S. Navy after high school graduation, Wilson attended Purdue University, graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1951. He then earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago in 1959. Through it all, efficiency and smooth business practices were always his focus as he began his career in the steel industry.

Throughout his career, Wilson was grateful for the good friends he had acquired in his days at Purdue and was anxious to give back to the university he loves and to support music programs in his home town and at Purdue. Today, he and his wife Janice support scholarships at Purdue Bands & Orchestras including a scholarship that bears their name in order to reward band and orchestra students who are studying engineering for leadership in ensembles and academic success at Purdue. The Wilsons are longtime supporters of Purdue engineering and the arts.

“I had nothing when I went to Purdue,” explains Wilson. “I graduated with an engineering degree from a university that is viewed as top-notch in the industry. I owe all of my experiences and success to my Purdue education.”

Herb’s wife, Janice, is a nurse by profession and former vice president of Micro-Surface Finishing Products. Together, the couple has traveled all seven continents and consider themselves citizens of the world. Included in their travels was their trip with the “All-American” Marching Band to Dublin, Ireland, for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade performance. “We had a wonderful time traveling with the band. Talking with the students, we grew close with them. International travel is a great opportunity for students. It is an excellent reward for them to have travel opportunities for all of their hard work. And at the same time, they benefit from a better understanding of the world as a global community and how they can help to make it better.”

Making the world a better place is certainly one of Herb and Janice’s passions. Among their travels are several mission trips through their church to El Salvador, Guatemala and India.

Herb has also been a Rotarian for 50 years, including service as district governor in Iowa’s Rotary District 6,000. Today, a lot of his time is dedicated to Rotary and the pursuit of curing congenital clubfoot around the world with the Ponseti Method. Clubfoot is a treatable birth defect that affects approximately 150,000-200,000 children each year. The Ponseti Method uses a series of casts and special braces which are 95% effective in correcting the birth defect with minimal cost and side effects.

When asked what he is most proud of in his life, he cites his children and the foundation his family founded in 1991. All of his children are well educated, with his oldest, Charles Everett Wilson, having earned a Purdue degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue in 1975 and a Masters of Business Administration from Stanford. His other children are Steven Wilson, a medical doctor; Keith Wilson; and Amy Wilson-Nicholson. Three of the children are involved in the Wilson Family Foundation, including Charles who is the Managing Director. The Wilsons also have nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Thanks to the success of the Wilson Family Foundation, the Wilsons are very generous supporters of Purdue engineering and bands and orchestras. Wilson’s support of the arts extends beyond Purdue, with Wilson having also served on the board of directors for the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa and singing in his church choir for many years. He has always regretted putting down his trumpet at sixteen, and is happy to support students who continue playing into college and beyond.

“Students in bands and orchestras work hard to receive only two credit hours each semester. It has been demonstrated that there is a connection to music and brain function. It is important that students be rewarded for their hard work in Purdue ensembles.”

Prior to retirement, Herb Wilson’s career was centered on plant expansion, facilities and corporate planning for a variety of companies in the United States and Canada. He was owner, president and chief executive officer of Micro- Surface Finishing Products Inc., in Wilton, Iowa, from 1977 until retiring in 2000; owner and president of Startups Unlimited Inc., in Iowa City, from 1993 until recently; senior vice president for manufacturing at I.S. Berlin Press in Chicago from 1970 to 1973; executive vice president for Iowa Steel Mill, in Wilton, Iowa, from 1973 to 1977; corporate planning manager and manager of manufacturing for Phoenix Manufacturing in Joliet, Illinois, from 1965 to 1970; and manager of corporate planning for Atlas Steels Ltd, in Welland, Ontario, from 1961 to 1965.

Bill & Gail Cordier

Bill and Gail Cordier have endowed a scholarship for Purdue Bands & Orchestras students out of enthusiasm for the wonderful experiences the department offers to qualified student musicians and because those students bring so many academic and leadership qualities to Purdue University’s student body.

Although Bill was (until recently) a member of the Purdue Bands & Orchestras Advisory Board, he is not an alumnus of the department. Both he and Gail come from musical families and backgrounds. Gail, an elementary school teacher, pianist and vocalist, sang in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s choir and with many other singing groups during and after her college days at Michigan State Normal College. She “adopted” Purdue after her marriage to Bill and has been an active, devoted Boilermaker ever since.

Bill’s parents and sister were accomplished, multi-instrument musicians. He was a percussionist who played in marching bands and orchestras during his early high school days. His enthusiasm for Purdue Bands & Orchestras dates back to 1947 when “Spotts” Emrick was leader.

In 1949, Bill graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2008. After many years on the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council and various other Purdue activities, he served as chairman of the Purdue President’s Council.

Bill’s career involved management and executive positions at GE, MacMillan, BF Goodrich and two other companies including CG Conn Musical Instruments Ltd. where he was president. He then formed The Cordier Group, Inc. where he was chairman. That holding company owned and managed businesses in machine tools, metal forging and metal fabricating.

“Gail and I know that the excellence of a Boilermaker education and Purdue’s superb worldwide reputation were major reasons for our good fortune in life,” he said. “We view it as almost an obligation to give back to this great university and its many wonderful schools and activities. We hope that more non-band alumni will become financial supporters of the wonderful program at Purdue!”


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