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, served 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 was 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.

Past Directors

Linda Mason, Professor and Dean of The Graduate School
October 2022 - December 2022
Mangala Subramaniam, Professor, Chair and Director
June 2017 - September 2022
Patrice Buzzanell, Professor, Communication, Emeriti Faculty
January 2015 - May 2017
Ileana Cortes Santiago, Interim Program Director
October 2014 - December 2014
Katie Pope, Managing Director
April 2012 - September 2014
Beverly Davenport Sypher, Professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication
July 2007 - March 2012
Ellen Kossek, Basil S. Turner Professor of Management
Research Director, Susan Bulkeley Butler Chair for Leadership Excellence, 2013-20