Purdue President named one of the women who shaped America

May 8, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue President France A. Córdova is featured in a PBS-sponsored educational program and documentary highlighting women whose accomplishments in society, arts and science have helped shape America.

"MAKERS: Women Who Make America" is a multi-platform PBS project that tells the story of women's advancement in America over the past 50 years and the formative influence women had in changing the country. The opening phase, the MAKERS.COM website, launched this winter and the second phase, a three-part series on the women's movement, will air on PBS in the fall of 2013. Córdova's profile on the program's website was launched Tuesday (May 8).

MAKERS executive producer Dyllan McGee said Córdova was included in the program because she was a pioneer for women in science.

"France is a true powerhouse who shattered glass ceilings in both academia and science, an arena where we especially need more role models for women and girls. We're thrilled to include her inspiring story in this important initiative," McGee said.

Córdova, an astrophysicist, came to Purdue from the University of California Riverside, where she served as chancellor from 2002-07. Before that, she was vice chancellor at the University of California Santa Barbara and the first female chief scientist at NASA.

Córdova is serving a six-year, Senate-confirmed appointment to the National Science Board and was appointed a citizen member of the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents in 2009. In January 2012 she was elected to a three-year term as the Smithsonian board's chair. She is the winner of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal and was named a 2000 Kilby Laureate for contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education.

McGee said the website and television program features first-person accounts by Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton and other women who defined what equality and accomplishment meant in their lives.

According to Storyville Films, it is the first major media project to reveal the story of how women transformed America, told from the perspectives of the groundbreakers who continue to shape the world today. The project is produced by Storyville Films in partnership with Kunhardt McGee Productions and WETA Washington and is sponsored by AOL.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, 765-496-2644, sig@purdue.edu

Sources:  France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu

                  Dyllan McGee, 914-238-6800, dyllan@makers.com