One Brick Higher presented to Zenephia Evans

February 28, 2012

Purdue President France A. Córdova presents the One Brick Higher Award to Zenephia Evans on Tuesday (Feb. 28) during the President's Forum in the Purdue Memorial Union. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Zenephia Evans was honored Tuesday (Feb. 28) with Purdue University's One Brick Higher Award.

Evans, director of multicultural programs and associate director of the Science Diversity Office in the College of Science, received the award at the President's Forum in the Purdue Memorial Union's South Ballroom.

The One Brick Higher Award is a special honor at Purdue. It is presented to faculty, staff and students who go beyond the requirements of their role to improve the lives of those around them, increase the effectiveness of the workplace and/or prevent or solve problems. It is given to faculty, staff and students who undertake their work with extra vitality, extra care, extra creativity and extraordinary effort.

Evans has a doctoral degree from Purdue in cell and developmental biology and has worked as a lab coordinator and faculty lecturer in biological sciences. She serves as staff campus adviser for Mortar Board, and also as adviser for the Association of Multicultural Science Students, Caribbean Student Association and the Zeta Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She is active throughout the community, helping serve meals at Lafayette Urban Ministry and volunteering with several service and non-profit organizations.

"Zenephia, many rely on you for your wisdom and guidance through academic and personal struggles," President France A. Córdova said. "You encourage our students and help them find the solutions they need to achieve their goals. Your dedication is an inspiration and an example for us all.

"I think I speak for the entire Purdue family when I say that you have taken this university 'One Brick Higher.'"

The One Brick Higher Award is steeped in Purdue history. It first was presented in 2002 and takes its name from events in 1894-95. In 1894 the newly built Heavilon Hall - which was then the home of Purdue engineering - was dedicated. The building featured a tower symbolizing academic excellence. Four days after the dedication, a fire destroyed this new campus landmark. Purdue President James A. Smart rallied spirits on campus by declaring that Heavilon Hall and its tower would be rebuilt "one brick higher."

And it was rebuilt. The new building was completed the following year and featured a tower with a clock and four bells that served as a campus landmark for 60 years.

In the 1950s Heavilon Hall was torn down and the present structure was built. The bells were placed in storage until 1995, when the Purdue Bell Tower was completed. The bells hanging in the tower today are from the hall that was built "one brick higher."

Faculty, staff and students are invited to submit nominations for future winners of the One Brick Higher Award, which will be presented at future President's Forums. Nominees should be from the West Lafayette campus. A website ( provides more information about the award and a nomination form.