History & Mission

In October 2004, Susan Bulkeley Butler a former member of Purdue’s Board of Trustees and a 1965 alumna of the Krannert School of Management, donated $3.65 million to endow the Center for Leadership Excellence and a chair with the same name. Butler, who retired in 2002 from Accenture as the first female managing partner, serves on the Campaign for Purdue Steering Committee, the President's Council, Women of Purdue, Krannert School of Management Dean's Advisory Council and Purdue Research Foundation board of directors. She also is a member of the Board of Directors for Leadershape and Junior Achievement. In 2003, she created the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders, which offers leadership training for women. Butler, an inspirational speaker and author, published Become the CEO of You, Inc, a how-to primer on planning and developing one’s career and personal potential. In 2010, she published Women Count: A Guide to Changing the World, a book that explores what needs to happen in the next decade to bring equality in sight.
Starting in 2018-19, the center has two new endowments from two first-time donors to Purdue who clearly noted that the activities of the center in 2017-18 made them excited to give for the center’s initiatives. These endowments partially fund the research project grants.