A stated meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees convened on Friday, August 6, 2021, at 10:07 a.m., on the Hammond campus of Purdue University Northwest. The meeting was held in Alumni Hall located within the Student Union and Library Building. Everyone in the room was wearing a mask amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Trustees present were: Michael Berghoff, chairman; Sonny Beck; JoAnn Brouillette; Vanessa Castagna; Theresa Carter; Malcolm DeKryger; Mark Gee; Michael Klipsch; and Gary Lehman, vice chairman.

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


Chairman Berghoff called the meeting to order and noted all trustees were in attendance, with the exception of Trustee Thompson, whose absence was excused. Chairman Berghoff welcomed Mark Gee, the new student trustee appointed by Governor Holcomb. Trustee Gee remarked that he was excited for the opportunity to serve as the student trustee, and he explained that he was returning to Purdue as a full-time graduate student after having received his undergraduate degrees at Purdue and working for an agricultural company for two years. President Daniels pointed out that Trustee Gee was the first graduate student appointed to the Board in a very long time (1995).

Chairman Berghoff then thanked Chancellor Keon and Purdue University Northwest for hosting the Board of Trustees, and he said the Trustees enjoyed being Chancellor Keon’s guests at dinner the previous evening in the Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building.


The Academic and Student Affairs Committee, Physical Facilities Committee, Finance Committee, and Compensation Committee all convened public meetings immediately prior to this Stated 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 Sessions – June 10, 2021 and July 7, 2021; Stated Meeting – June 11, 2021;
  • and Special Meeting – July 7, 2021;
  • Ratification of Dr. Senay Simsek as the Dean’s Chair in Food Science;
  • Ratification of Dr. R. Mark French as the 150th Anniversary Professor in Engineering Technology;
  • Approval to name the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering;
  • Approval to plan, finance, construct and award construction contracts for Whistler Hall of Agricultural    Research Mechanical Systems Replacement;
  • Approval to plan, finance, construct and award construction contracts for Schleman Hall, Stewart     
  • Center, and Related Renovations;
  • Approval of 2022 medical plan, system-wide;
  • Approval of contract terms for Head Women’s Basketball Coach;
  • Approval to award posthumous Bachelor of Science in Physics degree to Rutuj S. Gavankar (IUPUI);
  • Approval of Conflict of Interest disclosures, system-wide; and
  • Approval of exceptions to Nepotism Policy, system-wide.

With regard to the posthumous degree included on the consent agenda, Chairman Berghoff explained that the Board had approved awarding a posthumous Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree to Rutuj Gavankar at its last meeting, but Rutuj was also to have been awarded a posthumous Bachelor of Science in Physics degree, as he was simultaneously pursuing that degree and had met the requirements for it as well.

Chairman Berghoff then 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.


President Daniels profiled the gifts of $1,000,000 or more which the university had received since the Board’s Stated Meeting on June 11, 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: Harriet Crews and Sandra Biggs (posthumously), to support the College of Liberal Arts; John and Michele Carroll, to support the College of Engineering and Purdue Polytechnic Institute; William Elmore, to support the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Alexander and Helena Galezewski, to support Purdue University; and James and Cheryl McCarthy, to support the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Chairman Berghoff remarked that he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the donors who were willing to make such significant investments in the university. Trustee Gee expressed his appreciation for the alumni who gave back to support students. 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 began his report by highlighting another record year for student applications, which, he said, yielded the biggest freshman class in university history and biggest in the Big Ten. Provost Akridge attributed this to more out-of-state students having accepted Purdue’s offer than anticipated. President Daniels then reviewed outcomes of the previous year, beginning with actions taken relative to the COVID-19 pandemic; these included having administered over 200,000 COVID-19 tests and vaccinating over 30,000 faculty, staff, and students. He noted that, of the over 6,000 faculty, staff, and students who had tested positive for COVID-19, only 48 cases were significant or severe and 99% of those who contracted COVID-19 were asymptomatic or had very mild to moderate symptoms. President Daniels was pleased to note that no cases were traced to a classroom and research programs stayed on track, and he reviewed data which included how classes were delivered and the number of campus events held during the year. He concluded that there was no way to adequately thank everyone who made it possible for the university to manage through the pandemic as well as it had.

President Daniels also provided a positive snapshot of system-wide finances for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. He pointed out that institutional debt had been reduced by $70 million, and the university maintained a AAA bond rating. He also illustrated the steady growth of summer enrollment, which, he said, allowed students to complete their degrees more quickly and which made better use of facilities during the summer months, and he provided an overview of summer programs. To conclude his year-end review, President Daniels provided data on the success of entrepreneurship activities. A copy of President Daniels’ report presentation was filed with the minutes.


Dr. Mung Chiang, John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and executive vice president for strategic initiatives, provided an update to the Board on the national security and technology initiative, one of Purdue’s Next Moves. Dr. Chiang began his report by saying the initiative was off to a good start, with the university having received its largest-ever industry research commitment -- $75 million from Rolls Royce for aerospace defense capability. He also shared that a major announcement would be forthcoming with regard to a hypersonics testing consortium hosted at Purdue, which he believed would become a national treasure, and he discussed the launch of “Lab to Life” in the Discovery Park district. Dr. Chiang described these three efforts as historic in magnitude and significant in innovation.

Dr. Chiang also discussed what he said were encouraging strategies with regard to manufacturing in semiconductors, health, and transportation, as well as other state and federal initiatives in which the university would participate to enhance economic development. To conclude, he illustrated his vision to leverage synergies across the private, federal, and state sectors to create jobs and knowledge together. A copy of Dr. Chiang’s presentation slides were filed with the minutes.


Chancellor Keon informed the Board that his report would address how changes in the higher education environment had impacted Purdue Northwest (PNW) and he would discuss strategies to mitigate the effects of these changes on faculty, staff, and students. He began by illustrating enrollment data for PNW and other regional institutions, each, he said, having experienced a significant decline in enrollment. He explained that such declines were happening throughout the Midwest in places where smaller institutions provided higher education within a geographic area, and he identified a number of external factors for PNW’s enrollment decline, citing the decline in birthrates and the resulting competition for fewer high school students as the biggest factors. Chancellor Keon outlined that PNW would invest in growing new academic programs and enhance existing programs in an effort to attract more students, and it would seek to be designated as a Hispanic-serving institution. In response to a question from Chairman Berghoff, Chancellor Keon said nursing, business, and psychology were PNW’s top three programs, with computer science expected to become a top program as well.

Chancellor Keon then specifically addressed the state of PNW’s Westville campus. He explained that, because older students were now seeking online institutions like Purdue Global, the Westville campus now served a younger, much smaller population. He provided a timeline of how faculty at the Westville campus had been engaged to help them understand the decline in enrollment and seek their input for solutions. Chancellor Keon informed the Board that the Westville campus had lost $3.6 million during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, while only 20% of PNW’s undergraduate students were enrolled at the Westville campus.

Chancellor Keon expressed his belief that the Westville campus needed to be managed in such a way that it became self-sustaining, and he outlined a number of strategies implemented toward this effort, as well as engagement and marketing efforts to include making the distinction that Westville was a branch campus of the university. Chancellor Keon listed Westville’s programs and the enrollment in each, and he proposed that the Westville campus offer general education for all majors but focus on offering a small number of degrees specific to the region. He also suggested that new revenue streams could be created through hosting community and private events at the Dworkin Center. To conclude his report, Chancellor Keon presented a snapshot of what he believed the Westville campus should look like: a unique branch campus with 369 acres of woodland and recreational space, offering majors in nursing, management, psychology, biology, multidisciplinary studies, and elementary education, with student support services and campus life and activities.

At the request of Chancellor Keon, Dr. Chris Holford, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, introduced himself as having spent 16 years of his Purdue career on the Westville campus, and he expressed his belief that the Westville campus was a valuable asset to the Purdue system. He stated that the faculty and staff were dedicated, and he discussed the counties which the campus served. He echoed Chancellor Keon’s observation that external factors were affecting the communities served by the Westville campus and said it was necessary to reevaluate how the Westville campus could be utilized within the Purdue system. Provost Holford concluded his remarks by suggesting that resources be consolidated to meet student interests and investments be made in other areas important to the constituents of the region.

Chancellor Keon defined the term “branch campus” in response to a question from Trustee Klipsch, and Provost Holford discussed the general education for all majors offered at the Westville campus and how students benefitted from it. In response to a question from Trustee Castagna, Chancellor Keon indicated that the other majors offered at Westville had seen declining enrollment, including computer information technology.

Trustee DeKryger offered that there were places in Indiana where the population was growing but the population of the communities served by the Westville campus was not growing. He said that, as a resident of Jasper County, he had observed what the Westville campus had done for young people in his surrounding area, but, he said, there were no longer many young people. He expressed his high regard for the Westville campus as well as his belief that Chancellor Keon’s and Provost Holford’s recommendations “hold up the asset, recognize the need, and offer a pragmatic way of moving the campus forward.”

Chancellor Keon added that the Westville and Hammond campuses enrolled the largest percentage of high school graduates in the region but there were so few of them. Trustee Lehman asked to see data regarding the decline in high school students over the last decade, which Chancellor Keon indicated he would provide.

President Daniels expressed appreciation to Chancellor Keon and his team for the recommendations brought forth to the Board, saying it was a candid and clear-eyed presentation. He observed that declining enrollment at the Westville campus was no one’s fault and pointed out that schools across the country were facing the same challenges. President Daniels concluded that the recommendations proposed by Chancellor Keon and Provost Holford were in the best interest of the institution.

A copy of Chancellor Keon’s report presentation was filed with the minutes.


President Daniels invited Chancellors Elsenbaumer and Keon to summarize their approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic on their respective campuses for the fall semester.

Chancellor Elsenbaumer informed the Board that, last fall, Purdue Fort Wayne focused on creating a campus infrastructure that would allow faculty, staff, and students to protect each other. He said, this fall, PFW would focus on using the technology and tools now available (i.e. vaccination and testing) to protect themselves and each other, and he called on Dr. Jeff Malanson, co-chair of PFW Ready, to elaborate on PFW’s proposed measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2021-2022 academic year. Dr. Malanson stated that what had been learned about COVID-19 and its new delta variant in the past 18 months would be leveraged to improve all aspects of teaching, student support, and overall operations, and he discussed proposed actions, such as offering vaccination clinics for faculty, staff, and students.

Chancellor Keon echoed Chancellor Elsenbaumer’s comments and said Purdue Northwest would take many of the same actions as Purdue Fort Wayne and also implement incentive programs to encourage students living in residence halls to get vaccinated. Chancellor Keon informed the Board that PNW’s pandemic team continued to meet weekly.

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the regional campuses’ Protect Purdue measures. Copies of the proposed measures were filed with the minutes.


President Daniels respectfully requested approval to name the Michele and John Carroll Commons in the Engineering and Polytechnic Gateway Complex, which would include Dudley Hall; the name would apply specifically to the north entrance commons of Dudley Hall. He also requested approval to name the Hale Family Foundation Biology Laboratory and the Hale Family Foundation Chemistry Laboratory, both located within Chaney-Hale Hall of Science. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve naming the three facilities. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.


Chairman Berghoff called upon Provost Akridge to read the proposed slate of officers of the Board for the 2021-2023 biennium as follows:

  • Chairman: Michael R. Berghoff
  • Vice Chairman: Gary J. Lehman
  • Corporate Secretary: Janice A. Indrutz
  • Assistant Secretary: James S. Almond
  • Treasurer: Christopher A. Ruhl
  • Assistant Treasurer: James S. Almond
  • General Counsel: Steven R. Schultz
  • Deputy General Counsel: Trenten D. Klingerman

With no other nominations from the floor, and upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the slate of officers.


By consent, the meeting adjourned at 11:22 a.m.