APRIL 9, 2021

A stated meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees convened on Friday, April 9, 2021, at 9:22 a.m. 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: Michael Berghoff, chairman; Sonny Beck; JoAnn Brouillette; Vanessa Castagna; Theresa Carter; Malcolm DeKryger; Michael Klipsch; Gary Lehman, vice chairman; Noah Scott; and Don Thompson.

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); Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board; Ron Elsenbaumer, chancellor, Purdue Fort Wayne (virtually); and Tom Keon, chancellor, Purdue Northwest (virtually).


Chairman Berghoff called the meeting to order and noted that all trustees were in attendance.


The Academic and Student Affairs Committee convened a public meeting immediately prior to this Stated Meeting, with all trustees in attendance. Chairman Berghoff read the list of items on which the Committee voted to recommend full Board approval, which composed the unanimous consent agenda along with other routine items, as follows:

• Minutes: Executive Session – February 4, 2021; Stated Meeting – February 5, 2021; and
   Executive Committee – March 3, 2021;
• Ratification of Dr. Satish V. Ukkusuri as the Reilly Professor of Civil Engineering;
• Approval of Bachelor of Arts in Music;
• Approval of Faculty Promotions;
• Approval of Conflict of Interest disclosures; and
• Approval of exceptions to Nepotism Policy.

Chairman Berghoff asked if any of the Board members wished to have an item removed from the consent agenda for further discussion. Hearing no such request, and 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.


Provost Akridge respectfully recommended the Board’s ratification of Dr. Danzhou Yang as a Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. He informed the Board that Dr. Yang, who came to Purdue in 2016 from the University of Arizona, was an internationally recognized leader in DNA molecular targets for cancer therapeutics, which he explained further. He also discussed the impact of Dr. Yang’s research and highlighted that her research had been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2000. Provost Akridge cited one of six letters received in support of Dr. Yang’s appointment, the writer of which said Dr. Yang’s highly innovative research had the potential to lead to new cancer therapeutics that would have high impact on human health. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify Dr. Yang as Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.

Dr. Yang remarked that the appointment was a great honor. She said she had received great support since arriving at Purdue, and she expressed her appreciation for the excellent collaborations and spirit of collegiality at Purdue which she hoped would lead to the discovery of more effective cancer therapeutics.


President Daniels profiled the gifts of $1,000,000 or more that the university had received since the Board’s Stated Meeting on February 5, 2021. 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: Gregory Rein, posthumously, to support the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and Anonymous, to support Purdue University.

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 affordability. He was pleased to report that eight graduating classes and roughly 60,000 graduates had been the beneficiaries of the university’s extended tuition freeze. He said Indiana residents’ tuition continued to be less than $10,000 per year, and he illustrated that Purdue’s cost of attendance was over $6,000 less than the Big Ten average. He also illustrated declining Purdue student debt and default rates. A copy of President Daniels’ report presentation was filed with the minutes.

Chairman Berghoff observed that the university’s efforts to keep tuition flat significantly impacted graduates because it lessened their student loan debt and provided alternative uses for funds, such as purchasing a car or home, starting a business, or contributing to their retirement savings. President Daniels agreed, saying scholars have studied the impact of student debt on society. Chairman Berghoff added that, in his own conversations with high school students, they frequently considered the impact of student loan debt when deciding to attend college.


At the conclusion of his report, President Daniels requested the Board’s authorization to schedule a winter recess from Thursday, December 23, 2021, through Friday, December 31, 2021. He informed the Board that adding days to the already scheduled university holidays, a practice the university first implemented in 2015 with the Board’s approval, had been well-received by faculty and staff and had a positive effect on productivity. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the winter recess schedule proposed by President Daniels.


President Daniels expressed his belief that the primary purpose of the Board and the administration was to think long-term and strategically about how Purdue could excel at its land-grant mission. He reviewed the five Purdue Moves initiatives implemented in 2013 upon the Board’s approval and provided examples of what he described as very substantial progress. Chairman Berghoff took a moment to reflect on the initiatives and their impact on the university’s success, and he expressed his belief that they contributed to the significance of the new set of strategic initiatives being proposed to the Board today, which, he said, the Board also expected to be impactful.

President Daniels began his introduction of five new initiatives by saying they had been identified thoughtfully and strategically as the most important of many possible areas on which to concentrate resources, management attention, and assets to make the most difference in advancing the university’s mission. He described the initiatives as fundamental to creating the successful residential university of tomorrow and being a more diverse and welcoming campus. Chairman Berghoff then called on Dr. Karen Plaut, dean of the College of Agriculture, to provide an overview of the first proposed initiative, Plant Sciences.

Dean Plaut began discussion of the Plant Sciences initiative by providing examples of how plants affect the environment and serve as a food source, and she expressed her belief that the university had exciting new tools and expertise to make an impact in this area. Her presentation suggested that, “By investing in plant sciences, Purdue University will be known for growing graduates, entrepreneurs, and the Ag-Biotech industry to ensure a future where the environment and agriculture work hand-in-hand to both feed the world’s population and strengthen our ecosystems.” Dean Plaut outlined specific investments to be made in digital forestry, phenotyping facilities, data scientists, the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, and commercialization, and the ways by which success in these areas would be measured. Dean Plaut concluded her overview by saying the investments in plant sciences would be catalytic. She answered many questions from the Board, after which Trustee DeKryger expressed his belief that this initiative would be another opportunity to put agriculture “front and center.” Dean Plaut thanked the Board members for their faith in the College of Agriculture and its ability to collaborate with other Purdue colleges to impact the future.

Dr. Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research and partnerships, then provided an overview of the proposed National Security and Technology initiative. She began by reviewing historical events which, she said, had propelled the United States to a position of technological leadership and dominance followed by a position of complacency, saying, “This is a new day.” Dr. Mayer explained that theft of intellectual property and adversarial investments in research and development had led to a growing concern that the United States was losing dominance essential for economic prosperity and national security, and she further explained why Purdue was exceptionally well-positioned to serve the United States in reversing this trend. Dr. Mayer outlined four strategic areas of focus for the National Security and Technology initiative: investments in hypersonics and space vehicles; energetic materials and systems; cybersecurity; and secure microelectronics. She also illustrated university facilities that would lend themselves to the initiative.

Dr. Mayer described the structure of the university’s sponsored research portfolio then identified the third of the five initiatives as the establishment of an Applied Research Institute, which, she said, would invest in people and highly specialized infrastructure in order to focus on the areas of digital innovation in agri-food systems, national security and technology, and global development and innovation. She discussed each area of focus in depth. Relative to national security and technology, Dr. Mayer said that large contract vehicles and master agreements would be established to allow research sponsors to more easily access and engage with Purdue’s great faculty and student talent, and, through the growth of applied research, provide even more undergraduate research experiential learning opportunities. Dr. Mayer indicated that this initiative would also be measured by its resulting preeminent programs, top talent, and holistic partnerships.

Chairman Berghoff called on Provost Akridge to discuss the fourth proposed initiative, Transformative Education 2.0. Provost Akridge reminded the Board that Transformative Education was part of the first set of Purdue Moves, and he reviewed the successful outcomes of those first investments. Provost Akridge suggested that, as the university looked to the future, the most fundamental question to answer was how to make the value proposition of the residential learning experience crystal clear, a question which, he said, had been compounded over the last year by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, Provost Akridge enthusiastically outlined the ways in which Purdue could offer the most innovative residential learning program in the United States among large research universities; these included deep investments in high touch, experiential learning opportunities to engage students in deliberate ways, new ways of blending work (internships) and school, and integrated student life experiences. He then outlined how the success of these efforts would be measured.

Trustee Brouillette concurred that the Transformative Education efforts to date had yielded great results and expressed her belief that the new investments outlined by Provost Akridge were exciting and would make Purdue more attractive to prospective students. She thanked Provost Akridge for his passion and leadership, to which he credited the faculty and staff for their deep commitment to Purdue students. President Daniels remarked about the growing skepticism of higher education and said the success of this initiative was very central to Purdue’s future. Provost Akridge added that the initiative would enhance the university’s relevance and help infuse the 152-year old institution with tools to be different going forward. Chairman Berghoff remarked, “This is our core business. This is why we are here.” He expressed his understanding of the proposed efforts and said success would make a real difference. Provost Akridge responded to many questions and comments from the Board during a full and frank discussion.

To conclude introduction of the five proposed “Purdue’s Next Moves,” Provost Akridge discussed the proposed initiative to implement the outcomes of the Board-sanctioned Equity Task Force led by Trustee Thompson during the past year, which, he said, gave this subsequent Equity Task Force initiative prominence. Provost Akridge informed the Board that the framework developed by the Equity Task Force would be used to develop a set of actions to enhance the representation, experience, and success of Black students, faculty, and staff. Early actions would include launching scholarship programs, hiring dedicated recruiters, furthering relationships with historically Black institutions, expanding the university’s African American Studies program, and adding a ‘Diversity at Purdue’ module to new staff orientation. Provost Akridge also outlined how the success of these actions would be measured, and he identified who would participate in the leadership of the initiative.

Trustee Scott observed that Provost Akridge had summarized the initiative well and remarked that the Board had been provided many pages of supporting materials. Dr. John Gates, vice provost for diversity and inclusion, stressed that the Equity Task Force initiative was about Purdue becoming the first choice institution for prospective Black students, saying “WE are the institution” for Black Boilermakers to call home, feel cared for, thrive, have their needs met, and build friendships. Dr. Barrett Caldwell, who served as a faculty representative on the Board’s Equity Task Force, added that Purdue’s unique research opportunities were opportunities for building partnerships and relationships that would allow Black Boilermakers to share their success. Trustee Thompson said he sensed early on that the Equity Task Force would become a strategic imperative. He said the initiative needed to be engaging and embracing and he was excited to see the work of the Equity Task Force get to this point. Trustee Thompson also commended Provost Akridge for never having missed a meeting of the Equity Task Force during its seven months of work.

Trustee Thompson then shared the following: “When I graduated and left Purdue in 1984, I might come back once a year to do something with my fraternity, but I didn’t come back to the university. To be real honest, I came back to some friends. It wasn’t until much later in my career and in life when then-President Jischke invited me to come back. I had a lot of fondness for Purdue, but I didn’t know if Purdue had a fondness for me. I want to be real serious when I say this because I want everyone to understand what I’m saying…I didn’t know if Purdue had a lot of fondness for me. I didn’t know about Glee Club, I didn’t know there was a place where the president lived. These last ten plus years of serving with the folks sitting in this room have been some of the most rewarding that I’ve had. We’ve had some educational talks and have been informed about things I never knew were going on, and hopefully I have informed you about some things along the way that are from a Black perspective. It’s important you understand that they’re from a different perspective. Everybody has a different walk through these hallowed halls. My hope through all of this is that there will be more Black Boilermakers that will get an opportunity to experience what I have in these last ten years. Because that’s what brought it back to being a place I call home now. Before, it was a place I graduated from; now it’s a place I call home. And I care enough about this house that we put forward the efforts, all of us, to do what we just did. So, my sincerest personal thanks to the Board, President Daniels, to all of you, to the Task Force – that diverse group we pulled from all across the campus. We had just about every organization of all colors represented when we got on those calls and in those rooms. It wasn’t just a group of Blacks, it was all aspects of diversity. This will make us collectively better. And the fact that it sits right next to those other four initiatives says we’re serious about it, but I also believe it’s a tremendous enabler. If we don’t get this right and we’re sitting in front of the NSF years down the road asking for research dollars and they ask us one simple question – What does the university look like? – I guarantee you things will get more difficult for those universities that don’t have a more diverse perspective and reality. It’s exciting and it will be exciting for many faculty, staff, and students to come, of all colors, because diversity benefits all of us.”

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the five proposed initiatives presented and discussed as Purdue’s Next Moves. A copy of the presentation was filed with the minutes.


Ms. Assata Gilmore, president of Purdue Student Government, and Ms. Hannah Darr, vice president, reminded the Board that, at its stated meeting eight months ago, the Board had charged them with supporting the Protect Purdue Pledge as the university embarked on the fall semester in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Assata and Hannah were excited to report they had done so, and they discussed a number of accomplishments related to their “Be Bold” goals for the academic year to build an inclusive community, operate sustainable practices, lead with intention, and dedicate time to wellness. They expressed pride in leading by example to be the first students to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations at the Purdue clinic. Assata and Hannah also provided an overview of surveys which PSG had administered throughout the year to students to gauge their feedback on a number of topics, and they were pleased to announce the creation of the Boilermaker Support Network as a student-led and facilitated mental health resource for students. To conclude their report, Assata and Hannah shared their post-graduation plans and provided background information on the next president and vice president of PSG, Shannon Kang and Olivia Wyrick, respectively. Assata noted that Shannon would be the first Asian-American student body president. A copy of their report presentation was filed with the minutes.

Chairman Berghoff told Assata and Hannah they should be very proud of their accomplishments.


Dr. David Reingold, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, began his report by reminding the Board of the departments and programs housed within the College. He was pleased to inform the Board about three initiatives the College had undertaken in an effort to add value to the university. These included the Cornerstone program, which he described as an integrated Liberal Arts certificate designed to help ground STEM students in the Liberal Arts. He shared that the Cornerstone program had gained national attention as an innovative model. Dean Reingold also discussed the College’s “Degree in Three” and “Degree +” initiatives and said he was pleased they had been embraced by the university. He illustrated a steady increase in enrollment since he began his tenure as dean in Fall 2015, and he reported that, as part of addressing challenges, the College had been successful in its efforts to commercialize and develop corporate partnerships for Purdue’s very popular Online Writing Lab.

Dean Reingold also discussed efforts to right-size and upgrade graduate education. He said the College had reduced its number of funded graduate students in order to increase stipends, which are no longer the lowest in the Big Ten, and teaching assistants were delivering fewer courses. As a result of these efforts, he said, the College was gaining momentum in competing for talented graduate students across the country. Dean Reingold informed the Board that the College would focus on enhancing research productivity by becoming more competitive for federal research awards and investing in a Research Academy to increase grant activity.

To conclude his report, Dean Reingold said he was very proud of the media attention the College had garnered during his tenure. A copy of Dean Reingold’s report presentation and supporting materials were filed with the minutes.

President Daniels praised Dean Reingold’s innovative initiatives. Chairman Berghoff also praised Dean Reingold’s accomplishments, and Trustee Brouillette applauded Dean Reingold’s efforts to collaborate with the other Purdue colleges. Dean Reingold remarked that the College of Liberal Arts’ success was dependent on its ability to establish alliances across the university, and he recognized the quality of the other deans with whom he had collaborated. Dean Reingold also recognized Provost Akridge for being supportive of these alliances.


By consent, the meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.