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A Message from the President - February 2012

Purdue is making bold steps to ensure that the quality of a Purdue education continues to grow as we roll out initiatives of our Ten-year (decadal) Funding Plan.

We embarked on this plan last spring, and over the past few months we have made significant progress. Our first announcement is to move Purdue to a balanced trimester schedule over the next several years to enhance students' academic opportunities, offering them more flexibility to move more quickly toward graduation. We also announced the immediate formation of the Innovation and Commercialization Center, which will serve as a "one-stop shop" designed to help our faculty move their discoveries more quickly to market. We plan more announcements over the next few months to make progress toward the goal of the Ten-year Plan, which is to double revenue capacity over the next decade.

Bettye Collier-Thomas

The Black History Month keynote speaker is Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas.

This month Purdue celebrates Black History Month with a number of events on campus and in the community. We welcome nationally known historian Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas, who will deliver our keynote address on February 15 in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center. Collier-Thomas will speak on "Black Women in American Culture and History." We also look forward to the Langston Hughes Project, which on February 29 will bring poetry, a jazz quartet and visual imagery celebrating Hughes’ work to Fowler Hall. During this month, Chris and I are honored to share artwork from our personal collection with the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette for an exhibition titled "Trading Spaces: Exchanged Collections of African and African American Art." The art exchange brings six collections to the art museum in Lafayette, and art from the museum will be on display in the Black Cultural Center here on campus. I hope you can visit both venues. To learn more about our Black History Month events, visit the BCC website.

Howard G. Buffet

Howard G. Buffett will speak at the annual Purdue Ag Fish Fry.

Our plan to enhance diversity and inclusion is having real impact, demonstrated by the recent announcement that the retention gap between underrepresented minority students and the general student population at Purdue is closing. To read more, view the announcement here.

Each February we also look forward to our annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. This year’s event took place on February 4. Special guest speaker was Howard Buffett, president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, whose mission is to promote global food security through sustainable agricultural production and improved resource management. This topic is relevant to our own Center for Global Food Security, led by Purdue’s World Food Prize winner Gebisa Ejeta. It was wonderful seeing many of our alumni and friends at the Fish Fry.

Mel Chua

Mel Chua is an Example Maker.

The eyes of the nation were transfixed on Indianapolis earlier this month as the city hosted the Super Bowl on February 5. The preparations and many exciting activities in downtown Indianapolis brought great pride to our state. The Purdue community offered a warm welcome to all who came to visit, eat and play in Indiana for this exciting event.

Our annual Mollenkopf Weekend takes place February 17-19 in Naples, Florida, and I look forward to visiting with many alumni and friends during the annual President’s Council Appreciation Dinner and other activities. Many of our alumni will go "Back-to-Class" during this weekend and I am pleased they will have the opportunity to hear about some of the innovative research happening on campus – and maybe enjoy some warmer weather!

Students at Purdue are finding the tools to succeed and thrive socially and academically. This month’s "5 Students Who ... " web feature highlights some of our outstanding students who are giving back through service and mentoring. One example is Mel Chua, a first-year doctoral student in engineering education from Glenview, Illinois. Her passion is to teach and coach faculty members across the country in ways to provide students with real-world, hands-on learning experiences through what she calls "open source" learning. I hope you enjoy reading more about her and other Example Makers.

Happy Valentine's Day and Hail Purdue!


France A. Córdova