Cordova announces transition, bold initiatives in final year of presidency

July 1, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University President France A. Córdova announced Friday (July 1) that she has made a decision to transition out of her role as president of the university during the summer of 2012. She also announced that she is broadening Purdue's mission with a series of bold initiatives in her final year at the university. 

Córdova said she remains committed to ensuring Purdue's reputation will be defined by academic excellence, research innovation and global engagement.

"I will lead this extraordinary university in my final year as I led the first four," Córdova said. "My approach is to lead with vigor, with the resolute spirit of a pioneer and with the excitement of knowing that Purdue is willing to energetically serve a principal role at the center of a competitive and dynamic global stage."

When Córdova assumed the role of president in 2007, she committed to the Purdue Board of Trustees that she would complete the five-year term of her contract. Córdova turns 65 two weeks after her contract ends.

Keith Krach, chairman of the Board of Trustees, received Córdova's announcement on Friday (July 1) and stated: "Dr. Córdova has amassed a remarkable record of achievement during her years as our president. I know her final year with us will be every bit as successful as her previous four years. I, and the other members of the board, look forward to working with her in the coming months as we continue to advance our university's mission."

Former board chairman Tim McGinley echoed Krach's comments.

"I enjoyed the pleasure of serving as chairman of Purdue's Board of Trustees during the first two years of France Córdova's tenure," McGinley said. "She led Purdue to another level by increasing the research portfolio, enhancing the profile of the student body and increasing the institution's global outreach. She has served with energy, dignity and compassion. I know we'll see even more great accomplishments during her final year as president and wish her continued success."

Bill Oesterle, also a former board member and CEO of Angie's List, lauded Córdova's accomplishments.

"It is impossible to overstate the importance of Dr. Córdova's presidency," he said. "She has been remarkable in her willingness to honestly assess and address critical needs at Purdue. It has taken courage to make long-neglected changes, breaking new ground for Purdue. She has made the university more transparent, efficient and accountable. She's raised the profile of the student body. She's elevated the reputation of the institution. In short, she will be remembered for a long list of accomplishments from student success initiatives to a strengthened research portfolio to an enhanced national and global positioning. It was an honor and joy to serve with her as a trustee. I look forward to seeing what rabbits she has left in her hat this last year of her presidency."

The first four years of Córdova's term have been marked by a series of significant accomplishments that include an increase in reputational rankings, a doubling of research awards, establishment of the Global Policy Research Institute, the development of a new College of Health and Human Sciences, and an Office of Engagement that has made significant contributions to the Hoosier workforce and the Indiana economy. Córdova said that her proudest accomplishment is that each undertaking has had an emphasis on student achievement. 

"I am especially proud that we did all this while successfully navigating one of the worst economic environments in many decades, which we did by cutting costs dramatically," she said. "Today, Purdue is stronger than ever, with higher student metrics and increased national and international visibility. In addition, it is increasing its physical footprint with more building and maintenance projects going on that support growth and innovation than ever before. I am also proud of our partnership with the state through our state legislators, state leaders and the governor's office."

Gov. Mitch Daniels praised the partnership, noting, "President Córdova has done just those things Purdue and all of Indiana hoped she would: raised the standards, reputation and research profile of the university. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with her, and I'm certain her final year will be her finest yet."

Córdova said it is too early to reflect on the full slate of accomplishments achieved during her tenure because the best is yet to come. She said the upcoming academic year would build upon the solid foundation that has been set over the last four years and will focus on initiatives no less impactful. Key among them are sustaining New Synergies, the university's far-reaching strategic plan, and further developing the university's role in global engagement so that state and local governments might tap into international businesses and markets.

She said among the boldest initiatives to which she is dedicated is one called the Decadal Funding Plan.

"I committed to the Board of Trustees that over the next year I would lead the university through a unique process for Purdue, one that has great potential for its future, called the Decadal Funding Plan," Córdova said. "Fundamentally, it is an aggressive initiative that will help the university sustain its financial health so that tuition costs are held low and a Purdue University education remains affordable. Its focus on new forms of revenue generation is, for Purdue, a new way of thinking about long-term growth, capacity and opportunities for stretch initiatives. This strategy would take advantage of the remarkable transformations today in computer science and IT, nanotechnology, globalization, and technology development and commercialization. This plan will reflect, when it is completed, the remarkable creativity that resides in the faculty, staff and students of this great university."

Media contact: Chris Sigurdson, assistant vice president for media relations, 765-404-5959,

Note to Journalists: Publication-quality file photos and video B-roll of Purdue President France A. Córdova are available at