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President's Message - November 2010

“They who bettered life on earth …”

Those powerful words are inscribed on the medal for the Nobel Prize that our very own Ei-ichi Negishi, the Herbert C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, received last month.

Cordova, Negishi
Córdova talks with Negishi the morning of the Nobel announcement.

Professor Negishi's accomplishments are many. His groundbreaking work in palladium-catalyzed cross coupling has become a foundation for science and technology. It is essential for such things as DNA sequencing, chemicals that protect crops, and the LED displays that each of us finds on our computer screens.

Nearly 25 percent of all chemical reactions in the pharmaceutical industry are based on these methods and some may be used to produce cancer-killing substances.

Following the Nobel announcement, Japan revealed that Negishi would be honored with that country’s highest distinction, the Order of Culture, for his contributions to Japan's cultural development through his scientific work. He will receive the honor on November 3 from Japan’s emperor.

The Purdue community celebrates Negishi’s remarkable achievements, which bring great pride to Purdue and highlight the caliber of research and teaching our faculty members perform each day. To view a video of Negishi discussing the Nobel Prize, click here.

New AAAS members
Francisco, Cooks and Shahidi inducted into AAAS.

This momentous announcement was part of a surge of public recognition for our outstanding faculty members. Three were inducted recently into the 2010 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS): R. Graham Cooks, the Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor of Chemistry; Joseph Francisco, the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry; and Freydoon Shahidi, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics.

The AAAS is one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. Their recognition reflects brightly on all of us at Purdue.

Connie Weaver

Also in October, Connie Weaver, distinguished professor and head of our Department of Foods and Nutrition, was elected to the Institute of Medicine, which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Weaver is one of the nation's top researchers in nutrition, and this is an outstanding honor for her and for Purdue University.

Such noteworthy praise for our faculty reminds us of the pioneering advances we are making as one of the top research universities in the world. These achievements help us make gains on our strategic plan goal of delivering on discoveries -- taking research out of the lab and creating positive change in our local communities and around the world.

You can find more about our faculty research endeavors at a new website that highlights Purdue faculty who make a difference.

Another strategic initiative on which Purdue continues to make strides is launching the future leaders who will impact our world and inspire others. We recently announced that our one-year retention rate had risen to 89 percent, a record high for the University.

Signals project detects early warning signs and provides intervention.

Success like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It reflects our rigorous efforts at fostering an environment of success and accomplishment for each student. One such initiative is the Signals Program, a first-of-its-kind computerized tracking system that maps student academic progress and warns students in real time if they need work in certain areas.

Signals was developed right here at Purdue and is now being implemented nationally through a joint effort with SunGard Higher Education.

5 Students Who ...
Natalie Barrett of Miami, FL is one of five students who are difference makers.

A recent survey of graduating seniors found that 44 percent felt that leadership activity had the most impact on their academic success. Purdue is succeeding in fostering an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity, as well as professional and personal development for lifelong learning.

To learn about some of our students who are making a difference through leadership, visit the “5 Students Who…” website.

This month, Purdue also is broadening our "Discovery with Delivery" stage for the next generation by establishing the Purdue West Coast Partnership Center, a foothold in the technology and entrepreneurial haven of Silicon Valley, California. Connecting Purdue's significant strengths in research and technology collaboration to the high-tech capital of the world will open opportunities and help attract intellectual capital and investment to Indiana.

With all of this activity, it is an exciting time to be a Boilermaker -- each of us difference makers, striving to be catalysts for positive change. It is your enthusiastic spirit that allows this great University to move the world forward.

Hail Purdue!

France Cordova

France A. Córdova