October 11, 2023

2023 Special Boilermaker Award recipients announced

The Purdue for Life Foundation has named Johnny Brown, Barry Delks and Shontrai Irving as recipients of the 2023 Special Boilermaker Award for their dedication to Purdue.

Established in 1981, the award honors members of the Purdue faculty or staff who have contributed significantly to the improvement of the quality of life or the betterment of the educational experience for a substantial number of Purdue students.

Matt Folk, president of the Purdue for Life Foundation, and Danita Rodibaugh, chair of the Purdue Alumni Association, presented the awardees with pewter locomotive sculptures on the field at Ross-Ade Stadium during the Purdue vs. Wisconsin game on Sept. 22.

Brown has been a professor of mathematics in Purdue’s College of Science for more than forty years. His nominators said, “Johnny has exceeded the usual roles of faculty member and colleague by leading and supporting numerous efforts to promote the potential of all Purdue students, faculty and staff — especially those from underrepresented backgrounds.”

Delks serves as a coordinator of career services in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal Sciences. According to his nominators, “When many internal and external stakeholders think of Purdue Animal Sciences, they think of Barry because of their previous positive experiences with him. Barry has crafted new classes, designed professional development activities and worked behind the scenes to connect current students to alumni.”

Irving is a clinical associate professor of business law at Purdue University Northwest. His nominators wrote, “Shontrai is a true leader who instills the values of community engagement and making a positive difference. With his students, he has initiated several impactful endeavors, including establishing a partnership with Irving Elementary School to provide underrepresented students with opportunities to interact with college students and lawyers.”

Purdue for Life accepts nominations for the Special Boilermaker Award from May 1 through June 1 each year. Nominations may be made by any person or group affiliated with Purdue — students, faculty, staff or alumni. The names of recipients are inscribed on the recognition obelisk on the Purdue Mall and on a plaque in the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center.

For more information about the award, check out the award website or contact Courtney Cassady, senior director of outreach and volunteerism at Purdue for Life, at cmcassady@purdueforlife.org.

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