A stated meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees convened at 9:40 a.m. on Friday, February 5, 2021, on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. The meeting was held in Stewart Center, Room 214, to allow for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions were placed on the number of observers in the room, and other members of the media and the public who wished to observe the meeting virtually were provided such instructions. Everyone in the room was wearing a mask.

All trustees were present in person or, where specifically noted, by means of electronic communication pursuant to the Electronic Meeting Policy: Michael Berghoff, chairman; Sonny Beck; JoAnn Brouillette; Vanessa Castagna; Theresa Carter (virtually); Malcolm DeKryger; Michael Klipsch; Gary Lehman; Noah Scott; and Don Thompson (virtually).

Officers and administrators in attendance were: Mitch Daniels, president; Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity; Chris Ruhl, chief financial officer and treasurer; Jim Almond, senior vice president, assistant treasurer, and assistant secretary; Steve Schultz, general counsel; Trent Klingerman, deputy general counsel (virtually); and Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board.


Chairman Berghoff called the meeting to order and noted that all trustees were in attendance, with Trustees Carter and Thompson attending virtually.


The Academic and Student Affairs Committee, Physical Facilities Committee, Finance Committee, and Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee all convened meetings prior to this Stated Meeting, with all trustees in attendance for each meeting. Chairman Berghoff read the list of items on which the Committees voted to recommend full Board approval, which composed the unanimous consent agenda along with other routine items, as follows:

  • Minutes: Executive Session – December 3, 2020 and Stated Meeting – December 4, 2020;
  • Approval to award a posthumous Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Graphics Technology to Amber Simler;
  • Ratification of Dr. Barry R. Pittendrigh as the John V. Osmun Chair in Urban Entomology;
  • For Purdue Fort Wayne: Approval to restructure the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies; approval of Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; and approval of Master’s Degree in Music Therapy;
  • Approval of Master of Nuclear Engineering – Online Delivery;
  • Adoption of updated charter for the Academic and Student Affairs Committee;
  • Approval to increase authorization for Hagle Hall;
  • Approval to restructure/refinance Certificates of Participation;
  • Approval of 2020 Annual Report of the Senior Director of Audits;
  • Approval of technical amendment to the Bylaws of the Trustees of Purdue University;
  • Approval of 2021 official degree dates;
  • Approval of Conflict of Interest disclosures;
  • Approval of exceptions to Nepotism Policy; and
  • Approval of Resolution of Appreciation for Peggy L. Fish.

Chairman Berghoff asked if any of the Board members wished to have an item removed from the consent agenda for further discussion. General Counsel Schultz took the opportunity to clarify that the technical amendment to the Bylaws included in the consent agenda provided for changing the name of the Audit and Risk Management Committee to the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee following the Board’s approval on December 4, 2020, of that Committee’s updated charter. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the unanimous consent agenda. All supporting materials were filed with the minutes.


As chair of the Equity Task Force, Trustee Thompson stated that the Equity Task Force had been quite an undertaking, and he thanked all the students, faculty, and staff who had been part of the effort. He provided an update on the work of the Task Force and began by highlighting “State of the Nation” and “State of Purdue” statements, which, he said, recognized that both the nation and Purdue were at a crossroads with regard to conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. He reviewed the Task Force charter and specifically highlighted that the Task Force had been charged with: developing a plan with specific actions; focusing on structural and environmental barriers to success, with an initial focus on the specific experience of Black Boilermakers; reviewing the current state of equity on the West Lafayette campus; and ensuring that past initiatives remain viable while simultaneously recommending new or alternate strategies.

Trustee Thompson discussed the strategic framework of the Task Force. He explained that the process began by pulling together a very diverse group of approximately 150 students, faculty, and staff across the Purdue system and across many walks of life in order to understand the current state of affairs at Purdue from a variety of vantage points. With consideration given to “me” and “we” mindsets, the group then arrived at three strategic pillars on which to base its recommendations for an actionable strategic plan -- representation, experience, and success. Trustee Thompson discussed each pillar and how each fit into a “Purdue for You, Purdue for Life” approach.

Trustee Thompson shared that the Board members had reviewed a much larger and substantial presentation and catalog of documents from the Task Force, and he outlined a series of next steps that would lead to final approval and implementation of the Equity Task Force Strategic Plan in March 2021. He concluded his report by acknowledging a number of people who played a significant role in the success of the Task Force. A copy of Trustee Thompson’s report presentation was filed with the minutes.

Chairman Berghoff thanked Trustee Thompson and his business team, who, he said, had helped Trustee Thompson pull much of the information together. Chairman Berghoff echoed Trustee Thompson’s comment that the work of the Equity Task Force was not over but rather moving to a different phase. He remarked that it had been a full exercise that included an extraordinary number of meetings, and he said the Board would spend the next few weeks reviewing the findings in order to prioritize initiatives and determine how to implement them.


President Daniels profiled the gifts of $1,000,000 or more that the university had received since the Board’s stated meeting on December 4, 2020. The donors of these gifts were recognized in the following Resolution of Appreciation:

WHEREAS, the following friends of Purdue University have generously contributed $1,000,000 or more to move Purdue to greater excellence and preeminence; and

WHEREAS, the University wishes to acknowledge the significance of these gifts to new directions, advancements, and momentum in Purdue’s history, progress, and future;


1. That the University and the Trustees are grateful to these individuals for their leadership and support of Purdue University; and

2. That this resolution be spread upon the minutes of the Board of Trustees as part of the permanent record of the University.

FRIENDS: David and Bonnie Brunner, to support the College of Veterinary Medicine; David Burow and Suzanne Sweeney, to support the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Alexander and Helena Galezewski, to support Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation; Valerie McKinney, to support the Krannert School of Management; William Phillips, to support the College of Science; Suzanne Robertson, to support the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Michael and Carol Sohn, to support Purdue Bands and Orchestras and the College of Engineering; Jon Taenzer, to support the College of Science; Joanne Troutner, to support Purdue University, Libraries and School of Information Studies, Purdue Research Foundation, the College of Agriculture, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue Convocations, and Intercollegiate Athletics; and Anonymous, to support the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the resolution. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.


President Daniels focused his report on the topic of strategic initiatives. He was pleased to report that the University’s intentional effort to become a world leader in the STEM disciplines had resulted in a number of new majors, minors, certificates, and concentrations to attract and better serve more students as part of the University’s land-grant mission. He illustrated that two-thirds of faculty hired since 2018 were in the STEM fields, and he highlighted the University’s substantial investment in several new STEM facilities and labs. President Daniels illustrated the number of freshmen (69%) and total number of undergraduates (72%) enrolled in STEM majors for the 2020-2021 academic year. He also shared the number of STEM degrees awarded annually and pointed out that Purdue had advanced among its peers in this regard.

President Daniels discussed the investments the University had made to improve the West Lafayette campus in an effort to make Purdue University even more attractive for recruiting prospective students and faculty. He said “place making” began with the State Street Redevelopment Project, which had been accomplished jointly with the City of West Lafayette, a relationship which, he said, was not to be taken for granted. He called the State Street Project a prerequisite for growth, and he discussed how it had propelled the Discovery Park District initiative and contributed to the economic development of the West Lafayette community. President Daniels also highlighted the success of the Purdue Research Park expansion. He expressed his belief that, with its assets, Purdue was well-suited to be an economic engine and should maximize on the opportunity. President Daniels illustrated steady population and wage growth in the Greater Lafayette community and remarked about efforts underway to bring commercial air service back to the Purdue airport within the next five years.

To conclude his report, President Daniels stated that, though the administration would continue the work on which he had reported, it had begun to identify the next set of strategic initiatives that would become a chapter in Purdue’s history. He indicated it would include an initiative relative to the recommendations of the Equity Task Force, and he said he expected to propose the new set of initiatives to the Board in the coming months. A copy of President Daniels’ report presentation was filed with the minutes.

Chairman Berghoff remarked that President Daniels’ report had demonstrated how strategic initiatives could be identified and executed, and it was an example of how a university could impact its students, staff, faculty, and community. He said the University’s progress and success was evident and indisputable. Trustee Thompson thanked President Daniels for his support of the Equity Task Force and, with regard to that forthcoming strategic initiative, he said, “Let’s be the leader that Purdue is.”


Dr. Rhonda Phillips, dean of the Honors College, reminded the Board that this was the eighth academic year for the Honors College. She highlighted a number of ways in which the Honors College was different: it was Purdue’s only academic residential college; students of all majors lived together; and it had a dynamic, small and diverse faculty. Dean Phillips was pleased to inform the Board that the Honors College had a record number of 8,300 applications in 2020 for its 750 first-year openings, and she expressed her beliefs that the College had been successful in its efforts to be diverse and inclusive and it was a major recruiting asset for Purdue.

Dean Phillips discussed the Honors College’s four pillars for its curriculum and educational experience: interdisciplinary academics; undergraduate research; global and community engagement; and leadership development. She explained that the Honors College helped students, 70-75% of whom were in STEM majors, learn to be creative, flexible thinkers, and every student participated in undergraduate research. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, students were allowed to perform place-based research while they were away from campus. Dean Phillips was pleased to report that she was seeing “amazing outcomes” from the College’s peer to peer mentoring program, which, she said, was implemented when the College launched and the concept for which had now become a trend in higher education. She explained that the College had begun to apply the framework of the program to diversity mentoring with remarkable results that were garnering attention, and she said the College had created an online learning community to keep international students engaged while they were away from campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dean Phillips also reported that the success of the National and International Scholarships Office, housed within the Honors College, had exceeded expectations. She expressed her belief that it had completely changed the scholarship landscape at Purdue and proudly reported that Purdue had garnered its first and only Fulbright chair. She also informed the Board that Purdue had been named the data repository for Big Ten Honors Colleges.

To conclude her report, Dean Phillips shared that the Honors College would strive to continue to attract and retain high ability and highly motivated students and engage in ongoing evaluation and planning for future growth, and she was pleased to announce that the Purdue University Honors College would be featured in a PBS documentary about the role of honors colleges in higher education, with filming to take place on campus in March 2021. A copy of Dean Phillips’ report presentation and supporting materials were filed with the minutes.

Chairman Berghoff remarked that Dean Phillips’ report was impressive, and Dean Phillips answered a number of questions from the Board which resulted in healthy discussion. Provost Akridge took the opportunity to recognize Dean Phillips for lending her leadership to other campus initiatives.


Provost Akridge respectfully recommended the Board’s ratification of Dr. Margo J. Monteith as a Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences. He informed the Board that Dr. Monteith was an internationally recognized scholar who had made important contributions to understanding the social dimensions of prejudice. He said Dr. Monteith’s “Self-Regulation of Prejudiced Responses Model” had gained widespread acceptance and she had developed interventions to reduce the behavioral manifestations of biases and improve the sense of belonging of those who had been made to feel marginalized. Provost Akridge said Dr. Monteith’s work had been consistently published in top-tier social psychology journals, she had received continuous funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, and she had been named a fellow of five different professional societies. He discussed her professional service and shared that Dr. Monteith had received a Purdue Diversity Transformation Award. Provost Akridge cited one of five letters received in support of Dr. Monteith’s appointment, the writer of which said Dr. Monteith’s work was widely acclaimed and visionary.

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify Dr. Monteith as a Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.

Dr. Monteith remarked that she was tremendously grateful for the honor. She discussed a riddle that demonstrated cultural stereotyping, prejudice, and unconscious bias, and said her work was meaningful and fulfilling. She said she was pleased to serve on the Equity Task Force, and she thanked a variety of people for their contributions to her success.


Chairman Berghoff called for a motion to name the Dr. Jon C. Taenzer Floor in the Chaney-Hale Hall of Science in recognition of a posthumous gift of $3.9 million from Dr. Taenzer, a 1964 alumnus of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The gift was recognized in the Resolution of Appreciation for Friends of Purdue University which the Board had approved earlier in the meeting. Upon proper motion duly seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the naming. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.


Chairman Berghoff called for a motion to name the David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex, which would include the Small Animal Hospital, Equine Hospital, and Farm Animal Hospital. Naming these facilities for the Brunners would honor their gift of $10 million, which was recognized in the Resolution of Appreciation for Friends of Purdue University approved by the Board earlier in the meeting. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve naming the facilities. Supporting documents were filed with the minutes.


By consent, the meeting adjourned at 11:34 a.m.