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The close bond between Purdue University and Colombia began decades ago. It has sustained and grown stronger over time, but especially in the current decade, since Purdue launched its Colombia Purdue Initiative in 2010. In six short years, hundreds of individuals from all across Colombia and Purdue have crossed the Caribbean to explore and implement collaborations that matter to our collective futures.

Our greatest joint asset, however, is you - our alumni - you share a deep, lifelong attachment to your beloved country of Colombia and to your university family here at Purdue (and around the world!).

This section is an opportunity for us to feature and appreciate the stories of our common history and to acknowledge the contributions of those who have built the Colombia Purdue legacy.

Recognizing Linda Katherine Albert de Escobar

Linda Katherine Albert de Escobar is remembered among academics in Colombia as a driving force in botany research and a role model in education. With about 10,000 collected plants, 20 identified species, and a memorial plaque bearing her name, her contributions to science and her passion for education are undeniable.

She was born in Ohio on August 14, 1940 and studied Biology at University of New Hampshire (B.Sc, 1962), Purdue University (M.Sc., 1971), and the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D, 1980).

Dr. Escobar studied in the Biological Sciences department at Purdue University, and her major professor was Dr. Alton Lindsey, founder of the Ross Biological Reserve and Eminent Ecologist of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Her thesis title was "Beech-Maple and Maple-Basswood Associations of the Deciduous Forest Formation"

Only four years after the Peace Corps program was founded by J.F. Kennedy, 25-year-old Linda Katherine arrived in Colombia as a Volunteer in 1965. Her goal was to promote Biology education following the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) model, a modern and controversial approach that stressed themes like science as inquiry, the complementarity of structure and function, genetic continuity, and evolution.

Three years later, Linda Katherine joined the Colombian university Universidad de Antioquia as a professor, where she worked tirelessly until her retirement. Dr. Escobar created courses on Ecology and Plant Ecology, and helped establish the Biology graduate program. Moreover, she worked as director of the Universidad de Antioquia Herbarium (HUA) from 1981-1988. Her research was focused on the botanic systematics of flowering plants of the family Passifloraceae in South America, and produced over 30 publications in the topic including articles, books, summaries, and notes.

Moreover, Dr. Escobar was responsible for the identification of twenty Passiflora species: P. amazonica, P. amoena, P. araguensis, P. brachyantha, P. callistemma, P. chlorine, P. colombiana, P. fernandezii, P. huamachucoensis, P. jardinensis, P. linearistipula, P. magnifica, P. pacifica, P. pascoensis, P. runa, P. sierra, P. solomonii, P. tenerifensis, P. uribei, and P. viridescens. Explore the picture gallery for more details.

Dr. Escobar also acted as president of the Herbariums Colombian Association and actively participated in the consolidation of "Colombian Flora", a program that has spread the knowledge of Colombian diversity by publishing 26 monographs in the last thirty-three years.

Linda Katherine's respected and valuable work is remembered in Universidad de Antioquia with a memorial plaque on her name that is located in the Botany Laboratory in the Biology department, and reads: "In memory of Linda K. Escobar (1940-1993), who had the ability to transfer knowledge and encourage Neotropical Flora studies with enthusiasm."

Dr. Escobar died on December 19, 1993 in La Mesa, California. We honor and recognize her remarkable work on the 23rd anniversary of her death by sharing her story.

Memorial plaque bearing her name that is located in the Botany Laboratory in the Biology department at Universidad de Antioquia

Help us build our Colombia Purdue history!

We found this photograph within the Purdue Library's Archives and Special Collections. It was taken September 1969 in BOGOTA during a Purdue Alumni Club meeting. However, we do not know the people or story of this image -- do you recognize someone (maybe yourself) in the picture? What is your story? Or your friend's story? What is the history of the Purdue Bogota Alumni Club? Who organized it? What did they do and why did it stop?

Por Favor, HELP us build the story of the Colombia Purdue legacy and SHARE what you know about this picture. Click HERE to write to us and to upload other photos and stories that you saved from your Purdue adventures as a student and your family and life experiences after Purdue.

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