HHS 2018 Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Award

This award honors alumni who have significantly advanced their careers and have demonstrated noteworthy professional accomplishments that reflect favorably on their profession, Purdue and society.

Vanessa CastagnaVanessa Dingledine Castagna

Independent Director, Carter's & OshKosh B'gosh
Purdue University Board of Trustees
Dallas, TX


BS '71, Psychological Sciences, Purdue University


Purdue University Board of Trustees


Independent Director, Carter's & OshKosh B'gosh


Independent Director, Levi Strauss & Co.


Executive Chairwoman, Mervyns


CEO, JCPenney stores, catalogue and internet


SVP Apparel, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Outstanding Young Alumni Awards

This award honors alumni under the age of 35 with outstanding career development either through traditional channels or innovative approaches including involvement in professional organizations, college alumni association or community activities.  

Alex Parker

Maj Alexandra Parker, USAF, NC

Chief, Medical Security Cooperation, Air Forces Central Command
Shaw AFB, SC


BS ’04, Nursing, Purdue University
MPH '12, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences


Chief, Medical Security Cooperation, Air Forces Central Command, Shaw AFB


Health Care Integrator, 55 MDG, Offutt AFB, NE


Staff Nurse: Pediatric ICU, 59 MDW, Joint Base San Antonio, TX


Staff Nurse: Women’s PACU, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA


Staff Nurse: Med-Surg ICU, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA

Meghan Darling White

Meghan Darling White

Assistant Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Science
University of Arizona
Tuscon, AZ


BS '06, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University
MS '08, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University
PhD '13, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University


Assistant Professor, University of Arizona, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Science


Postdoctoral Trainee, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison,
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, T32 HD07489


Speech-Language Pathologist, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI


Speech-Language Pathologist, Indiana University Health-Arnett Hospital, Lafayette, IN


Senior Graduate Assistant, Speech Physiology Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Service Award

The College of Health and Human Sciences surprised Dean Ladisch by honoring her with the Service Award during the 2018 HHS Awards Dinner. The following information appeared in the awards program:

Christine LadischChristine M. Ladisch

College of Health and Human Sciences

Christine Ladisch is the first dean of Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS). Ladisch, a professor of consumer science, had served as inaugural dean since the College was launched in 2010. Under her leadership, the College has increased enrollment; expanded academic programming, including a public health graduate program; grown external research funding; and is well on its way to exceeding its $77 million fundraising goal for Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University.

Preceding her appointment as inaugural dean, Ladisch had served as vice provost for academic affairs since July 2005 and as associate provost since 2001. In these roles, she provided leadership in undergraduate education and dealt with matters of personnel, budget, academic planning, program evaluation, and general academic policy development and implementation. Prior to these roles in the Office of the Provost, she served as associate dean for academic affairs in the former College of Consumer and Family Sciences from 1993-1999, and as department head of consumer sciences and retailing from 1999-2001.

Ladisch co-chaired the accreditation steering committee that in 2010 helped Purdue earn continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. She was later recognized with Purdue’s One Brick Higher Award for her leadership of the accreditation review process. Currently, she co-chairs the Healthy Food Systems, Healthy People steering committee, a national, broad-based programmatic initiative linking research, Extension, and academic programs that focus on integrating nutrition, health, environment, and agricultural systems to benefit human health.

Dean Ladisch has received departmental, school and University-level awards for teaching excellence, including the prestigious Murphy Teaching Award. She is a member of the Teaching Academy and is listed in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers. She received the Violet Haas Leadership Award in 2017 and the Susan Butler Distinguished Women Scholars Award in 2018.

Ladisch is an alumna of Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, having earned both an MS and Ph.D. in consumer science. While her tenure as HHS Dean will conclude in mid-2018, her advanced knowledge of Purdue, along with her outstanding management skills, will continue to serve the University well. President Mitch Daniels has appointed her to co-lead the year-long “festival of ideas” that will be the centerpiece of the University’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019. And then, after a long-awaited sabbatical, Ladisch plans to return to the faculty and teaching.

The faculty, staff, students and alumni of the College of Health and Human Sciences are deeply grateful for Dean Ladisch’s outstanding leadership and wish her much success and happiness now and in the future.

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