Having by Giving

Story by Amy Raley

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
— Winston Churchill

People who think like Winston Churchill are Purdue’s lifeblood and a primary reason that the College of Health and Human Sciences is vital and growing.

These people, a few of whom we feature here, share their time and resources to support professorships that strengthen discovery in all HHS fields as they enrich student learning.

The gift of a gift

Katherine “Kay” Birck had no idea that a Purdue professorship had been named for her. Her husband, Michael Birck (ECE ’60), known for his generosity and service to Purdue, endowed the nursing professorship as a fitting tribute to his wife’s career.

“It was given to me by my husband as a surprise,” she recalls.

A nurse who retired in 2007 after 30 years serving in a five-doctor obstetrics and gynecology practice, Birck says she was thrilled with the thoughtful gift. She has made a point of staying on top of the ongoing innovations in Purdue’s nursing program through the years.

Greg Arling Greg Arling | Katherine Birck Chair of the School of Nursing (photo provided)

“I have been so impressed with the advances I’ve seen at Purdue in nursing education,” says Birck, who graduated in 1960 from St. Anthony School of Nursing in Terre Haute, Indiana. “When we were in school, we had to practice procedures on each other. I remember my arms were black and blue from top to bottom.

“Today, the manikins they use have improved so much. They breathe, talk, make sounds and do things they never did even a few years ago — even deliver babies.”

Greg Arling, the Katherine Birck Chair of Nursing, is a highly recognized researcher in healthcare quality assessment, evaluation and policy analysis — particularly involving long-term care settings that serve the elderly. He says the Birck endowment has meant gains for both student learning and high-impact research.

“Studies supported through the endowment have shed light on implementing quality improvement, avoiding inappropriate hospitalizations, promoting choice in care settings and understanding health experiences of older people and families,” he says. “Much of this research has been in partnership with policymakers and care providers who have put into practice the lessons we have learned.”

A life changer

Bill Byham (PSY ’62) attributes his early success to serendipity.

“I was involved in the use of a new assessment-center method at JC Penney, and when I wrote an article about it for the Harvard Business Review, all of a sudden I was famous. Companies called to say, ‘We need your help.’”

The assessment-center method put job candidates into actual on-the-job scenarios while experts watched and assessed their behavior.

Deborah Rupp Deborah Rupp | William C. Byham Chair in Industrial-Organizational Psychology (photo provided)

Today, as co-founder and executive chairman of Development Dimensions International (DDI), Byham is gratified by the impact the company has had. He wants to make the same difference in the lives of graduate students, while also promoting his chosen field — industrial and organizational psychology. He is doing that with the William C. Byham Chair in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

Holding that chair today is Deborah Rupp, professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. A global authority in her field, Rupp conducts research on organizational justice, behavioral ethics, corporate social responsibility and humanitarian work psychology, as well as issues surrounding behavioral assessment, technology, bias and the law. She has worked with myriad organizations around the world, and her research has been cited in U.S. Supreme Court proceedings.

“My endowed chair means the world to me,” Rupp says. “Bill Byham is a pioneer of behavioral assessment, which is a central topic of research for me. Not only am I seeking to build on the shoulders of giants, I get to do so with one of their names attached to mine. It’s a true honor. The connection means a great deal to my students as well; they feel they are part of an important legacy.”

Lasting impact

Anyone who knew the late James Dora Sr. (MGMT ’58) early in his career likely would have predicted he would collect an honorary doctorate one day. In 2006, he did just that, returning to Purdue to receive an honorary doctorate in hospitality and tourism management.

Howard Adler Howard Adler | C.B. Smith Professor of Hotel Management (photo provided)

Just four years after he earned his bachelor’s degree at Purdue, Dora and his brother, Robert, opened the Holiday Inn in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1962. It would be the first of many. Dora helped develop and operate many properties under the InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton and Marriott brands, which now are part of General Hotels Corp. His properties have consistently won top awards for design and service excellence. One of them, the Crown Plaza at Union Station, Indianapolis, has received many awards. His son, James Dora Jr. (HTM ’86) continues his father’s legacy as president and CEO of General Hotels.

A pillar of Purdue, the elder Dora funded the first endowed professorship in HTM, the C.B. Smith Professorship of Hotel Management, named after one of his mentors. Dora also contributed to the construction of Marriott Hall, and the large demonstration classroom is named after him and his wife.

Howard Adler has held the C.B. Smith professorship since 2008.

“Holding a professorship is one of the highest honors a professor can receive,” Adler says. “It has allowed me to kick my professional career into overdrive through my research with multiple graduate students at the same time. Being able to fund research and have my students and me attend conferences to present our findings would simply not be possible without the support of this professorship. My impact on the industry and on future educators is a direct result of this position.”

Passion at a pivotal point

As baby boomers’ ages and needs for healthcare increase proportionally, so will the need for expertise in gerontology. Enter William Hanley (Industrial Economics ’60) and Sally Berner Hanley (HDFS ’61), whose generosity has created the position of the William and Sally Berner Hanley Professor of Gerontology at a critical time.

Sally Berner Hanley says the gift was, in part, a natural outgrowth of affection that she and her husband felt for their grandparents. Sally’s grandparents lived with her family for the last 10 years of their lives.

Elliot Friedman Elliot Friedman | William and Sally Berner Hanley Associate Professor of Gerontology (photo provided)

“They were in wheelchairs and lived with my mother and dad, my twin sister, and me,” Sally says. “My sister and brothers and I all learned a great deal from them, and the variety of activity in our house probably added to their zest for living. And Bill’s maternal grandparents gave him many fond memories of farm life.

“Bill and I are passionate about helping people of all ages. Endowing a professorship in gerontology at Purdue seemed to be a very rewarding gift to Purdue. It makes us very proud!”

Elliot Friedman, currently the William and Sally Berner Hanley Associate Professor of Gerontology, says the endowment means more students doing much-needed research.

“It provides essential resources that I can use to increase undergraduate and grad student involvement in gerontology research,” Friedman says. “It also elevates the profile of gerontology research at Purdue nationally at a time when the aging of our population is presenting diverse challenges and opportunities for researchers and clinicians trained in gerontology.”

Additional endowed, named professorships within the College of Health and Human Sciences include the Ben and Maxine Miller Professorship in Child Education (currently open); and the James V. Bradley Chair of Psychological Sciences, held by Jeffrey D. Karpicke.

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