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President's Message - June 2010

Dear Purdue family and friends:

Our trip to Beijing and Hong Kong last month was fruitful. The educational, research and alumni connections we established or renewed are vital, and the people we met made a wonderful and lasting impression.

Cultural gala

The bonding began as we arrived at the Beijing airport. Two China Agricultural University (CAU) students greeted us wearing T-shirts emblazoned with their university's name in Chinese -- and "Purdue University" directly below it in English. It was a simple but striking symbol: two universities on opposite sides of the globe joined in an exciting partnership to meet global challenges through research collaboration.

Our journey celebrated and enhanced our partnerships with CAU, China's premier agricultural institution, and Tsinghua University (Tsinghua), the country's top comprehensive research and teaching academy. Both universities share Purdue's unique global outlook and, like Purdue, they seek to expand international collaborations. There are many more details about the trip at, along with some wonderful photos that help tell the story of our visit.

Purdue has, in fact, been partnering with these two universities for some time -- the trip was both a rejuvenation and reminder of the ambitious and essential challenges before us. Researchers from the three universities are working together to improve health care and confront the worldwide challenge of hunger. Together, they will produce significant new ideas and innovations.

Signing of the Agreement

During our trip, I signed memoranda of understanding for academic and research collaborations with both universities that will assure a continued and rich future of cooperation.

One of the great highlights and honors of the visit was "Purdue Day" at CAU. It featured a symposium on global food security, along with some lively discussion between Purdue faculty members and their Chinese peers on areas of future study and collaboration.

"Purdue Day" at CAU
"Purdue Day" at CAU

At "Purdue Day," the universities also discussed how to improve students' skills to compete and cooperate in the global environment. International interest among students is vibrant -- this past academic year, 46 CAU undergraduates enriched our campus by studying at Purdue. This summer alone, 864 Purdue undergraduate and graduate students are studying in 34 countries. You can learn more about some of our outstanding students, both here in West Lafayette and those who have studied abroad, at our "5 Students Who …" website.

During the recent trip, as I met with prospective students, current students on summer exchanges and many of our Chinese alumni, I was inspired at every step: Expanding our circle of partners means we can expand our transformative global impact. Extending the University's reach also strengthens Purdue's reputation here at home, which bolsters our core missions and helps us continue to draw the most outstanding students, faculty and staff from the state, region and across the country.

Arden Bement
Arden Bement

I want to enthusiastically thank our gracious hosts in Beijing and Hong Kong, Tsinghua and CAU, and all the people behind the scenes who made such a rewarding visit possible.

There is even more news on the "global" front. The opening this month of Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute (GPRI), under the direction of Arden Bement, will also broaden our contributions internationally. The University will be collaborating with some of the world’s best researchers as GPRI creates pathways to put discoveries and knowledge to use where they are needed most.

Gebisa Ejeta
Gebisa Ejeta

I would also like to offer a very warm thank-you here to both of Purdue's faculty members who are World Food Prize winners: Phil Nelson, the keynote speaker at Purdue Day at CAU; and Gebisa Ejeta, who gave the keynote at a recent commencement ceremony on campus. Professor Ejeta shared his wisdom with our graduating students and their families during one of our May commencement ceremonies. His message focused on humility, having a deep commitment to humanity, and living with an outlook of gratitude. Professor Ejeta closed his remarks by encouraging graduates to "go serve the world." I hope the message resonates.

With diplomas in hand, Purdue’s newest alumni have now set off on their own trips to touch tomorrow. The world is waiting.




France A. Córdova
President, Purdue University