Trustees ratify appointments, approve consolidation and resolutions, modify ratification process

July 19, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (July 19) ratified three appointments and approved the consolidation of the Office of Marketing and Media with the Office of Public Affairs.

Trustees also approved resolutions of appreciation for outgoing trustees and voted to modify the list of appointments that require board ratification.

The board ratified Michael B. Cline as vice president for physical facilities, Suresh Garimella as the university's chief global affairs officer and Rhonda Phillips as the dean of the new Honors College.

Michael Cline

Michael Cline
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Cline, who started at Purdue July 1, has served as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation since June 2010 and was deputy commissioner from 2006-2010. He previously served as project manager and transportation services manager for American Consulting Inc., an Indianapolis architectural and engineering firm.

The Purdue vice president for physical facilities is responsible for the operation, maintenance, planning and construction of campus lands and facilities on all four Purdue campuses and oversees nearly 1,000 employees. Purdue's West Lafayette campus has more than 380 buildings.

Cline is a 1988 Purdue civil engineering graduate and is a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. As transportation commissioner, Cline oversaw a $1 billion road and bridge capital program and managed a 3,700-person agency with a $400 million annual operating budget. While deputy commissioner, his responsibilities included all maintenance and operations for six district offices and a $400 million capital program. His work resulted in operations cost savings of $70 million.

Suresh Garimella

Suresh Garimella
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Purdue President Mitch Daniels named Garimella to his new position June 4. Garimella has been associate vice president for engagement,

and he also is the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

In his new role, Garimella, who reports directly to Daniels, will develop partnerships with international institutions of higher education and, in collaboration with Purdue Research Foundation, with global businesses. He will support international connections for Purdue faculty and researchers. He also will oversee International Programs, including International Students and Scholars and Study Abroad.

Additionally, Garimella will guide Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute, assessing its strengths and helping it build upon its work on projecting the influence of faculty research nationally and internationally.

Rhonda Phillips

Rhonda Phillips
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Phillips came to Purdue earlier this summer from Arizona State University, where she had been associate dean of Barrett, The Honors College, since 2011.

She also was a professor in the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State. She held appointments as senior sustainability scientist in Arizona State's Global Institute of Sustainability/School of Sustainability, and affiliate faculty in the School of Geographical Sciences, Urban Planning and the School of Public Affairs.

Prior to going to Arizona State in 2007, she was an assistant and associate professor in the urban and regional planning department at the University of Florida, where she also was founding director of the Center for Building Better Communities. Before that, she served as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Area Development at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Daniels announced in April the merging of the Office of Marketing and Media with the Office of Public Affairs under the direction of Julie Griffith, vice president for public affairs.

Marketing and media staff work with central administration and the academic colleges to engage with university stakeholders, including prospective students, donors and businesses.

Griffith joined Purdue in May 2011 to oversee the university's government and community relations and economic development efforts.

Trustees approved resolutions of appreciation for former trustee Michael Birck and former student trustee Miranda McCormack. Birck of Hinsdale, Ill., resigned earlier this year due to health issues after serving since July 1, 1999, as the alumni trustee. A 1960 graduate of Purdue, Birck was co-founder, president, CEO and chair of Tellabs Inc. McCormack completed a two-year student term on the board July 1. McCormack of Fowler, Ind., also was a member of Purdue Student Government through the Student Supreme Court. A chemical engineering major, she is scheduled to graduate in May 2014.

The board also voted to change the list of officer appointments requiring board ratification under the bylaws. The list, which was most recently revised by the board at its October 2012 meeting, retains all previous categories other than deans, vice provosts and vice presidents who do not report directly to the president.

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711,

Sources: Michael Cline, 765-494-8000,

Suresh Garimella, 765-494-9095,

Rhonda Phillips, 765-494-2929,

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