Trustees ratify 5 named professors, approve posthumous degree and resolution of appreciation

February 21, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Feb. 21) ratified five named professors and approved a posthumous degree.

Trustees also approved a resolution of appreciation for those who have donated $1 million or more to Purdue as well as a supplemental retirement plan for the director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Trustees approved Joerg Appenzeller as the Barry M. and Patricia L. Epstein Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; James M. Caruthers as the Gerald and Sarah Skidmore Professor in Chemical Engineering; Kuan-Chou Chen as the Thomas M. McDermott, Sr. Professor in Economic Development at Purdue University Calumet; John McConnell as the Burton Morgan Chair in Private Enterprise; and Pat Obi as the White Lodging Professor of Finance in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University Calumet.

Joerg Appenzeller

Joerg Appenzeller 
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Appenzeller is professor of electrical and computer engineering and scientific director of nanoelectronics in the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Prior to coming to Purdue in 2007, he was a research staff member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, an assistant professor and leader of the Mesoscopic Physics Group at the Technical University of Aachen in Aachen, Germany, and a visiting scientist and temporary research staff member in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Appenzeller's research interests include experimenting with novel device concepts to improve transistor performance, exploration of nanomaterials and future nanoelectronics applications.

A fellow in the American Physical Society and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Appenzeller received the 2009 IBM Faculty Award and the Jack Raper Award at the 2003 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

He received his bachelor, master's and doctoral degrees from the Technical University Aachen, Germany.

The Barry M. and Patricia L. Epstein Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering was made possible through an endowment established in 2005 by Barry Epstein, a Purdue alumnus, and his wife. Barry Epstein, who is president, CEO and chair of Technology 21, received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue. He was named one of the 2011 Distinguished Engineering Alumni.

James Caruthers

James Caruthers 
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Caruthers, who has been at Purdue since 1977, is a professor of chemical engineering and directs a large number of graduate students in the areas of polymer mechanics and chemistry. He has more than 100 archival publications in polymer mechanics and chemistry.

In 2014 Caruthers was asked by the National Science Foundation to lead a group of academic and industrial scientists/engineers to develop a research roadmap to predict polymer life performance, which is critical to the future use of these materials in engineering applications.

He also leads Purdue's electric vehicle GrandPrix program and K12 Motorsports STEM initiative. Under his leadership as director of the Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium, Purdue faculty developed a set of courses in electric vehicles for Purdue undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, he helped Purdue obtain the first set of electric vehicle charging stations on any university campus in the nation. As part of the program, the evGrandPrix electric go-kart race was established in 2010. In 2011 the evGrandPrix became a national race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with college teams from across the nation competing. The 2014 International evGrandPrix will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the week before Pole Day.

Caruthers is leading a multi-college effort to use IndyCar racing to engage middle and high school students in the STEM disciplines. The program's focus is to address the significant current and future workforce needs by Indiana's manufacturing sector.

The Gerald and Sarah Skidmore Professorship of Chemical Engineering is made possible by an endowment established in 2012 by Purdue alumnus Gerald Skidmore and his wife, Sarah. Skidmore received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1954 from Purdue and received the Outstanding Chemical Engineer Award in 2011. He started Skidmore Enterprises in 1963 and in 1971 it became Skidmore Sales and Distributing Co.

Kuan-Chou Chen

Kuan-Chou Chen 
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Chen is a professor and department head of Information Systems, Finance and Business Analytics, as well as interim head of the Department of Graduate Studies in Education at Purdue Calumet. Chair of the research board at Purdue Calumet in 2011-12, he also served as acting head of the Department of Accounting in 2007-08.

Prior to joining Purdue Calumet in 2002, Chen worked at Electronic Data Systems as project manager and information analyst. He also served as assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management at Purdue's West Lafayette campus and Bowling Green State University.

His research areas include computer simulation modeling, data mining, information security, business intelligence and economic development modeling. He has published more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed information systems, economics and management journals and serves as editor-in-chief of International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning.

He earned his bachelor's and MBA degrees from National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, and his doctorate from Michigan State University.

The Thomas M. McDermott, Sr., Professorship for Economic Development endowment was created in 2005 by the city of Hammond, Ind.

John McConnell

John McConnell 
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McConnell is a distinguished professor of management and a distinguished professor. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1976 and became professor of management in 1983. He also was a visiting professor of finance at Stanford University and a professor of finance at the University of Minnesota. He also has served as assistant professor of finance at Ohio State University and was assistant and associate professor of management at Purdue

He served as a consultant to investment banks and government agencies on various aspects of financial markets and securities. He has published more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed finance, economics and management journals, and serves on several editorial boards including the Journal of Corporate Finance, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis and the Real Estate Review.

McConnell is a member of the Purdue Teaching Academy and a four-time winner of the Salgo-Noren outstanding teacher award. He has served as academic director of both the masters and doctoral programs at Krannert. He was recognized as the distinguished scholar of the Eastern Finance Association in 2002 and as a fellow of the Finance Management Association in 2007.

He received his bachelor's degree from Denison University, his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and his doctorate from Purdue.

The Burton D. Morgan Chair of Private Enterprise endowment was created in 1977 by Burton D. Morgan and other donors for the purpose of supporting a chair in the School of Management. Morgan graduated from Purdue University in 1938 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. Morgan, who died in 2003, was a successful entrepreneur who started or supported the launch of dozens of businesses during his lifetime.

Pat Obi

Pat Obi 
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Obi is a professor of finance at Purdue Calumet, where he has been since 1989 when he was an assistant professor of finance.

His research areas include corporate financial analysis, financial planning, business valuation and risk management. He has more than 40 scholarly research publications in academic journals and is on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Business and Economic Research.

Obi was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Global Business and Technology International Conference in Helsinki and has received the Outstanding Professor Award for the MBA Executives Program at Purdue Calumet eight times. He also was the recipient of the first Faculty Lecturer Award in 2010 and Teacher of the Year in 2000, both at Purdue Calumet.

He earned his bachelor's degree from the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, Nigeria, his MBA from Texas State University and his doctorate from the University of Mississippi.

The White Lodging Professor of Finance in Hospitality and Tourism endowment was created in 2010 by the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation.

Trustees also approved a posthumous bachelor's degree in electrical engineering for Andrew Boldt. A senior in the College of Engineering, Boldt was the victim of a Jan. 21 shooting on campus.

Trustees also approved a resolution of appreciation for donors the Chaney Family Foundation, Donald E. Huff, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Lyles Family Foundation, Margaret and John Weeks, and three anonymous donors. The Chaney Family Foundation donated $1 million to the Pacesetter Endowment for the College of Pharmacy, which provides one or more annual scholarships for undergraduate or professional students enrolled in pharmacy. Huff gave $1.8 million for scholarships for Indiana students who otherwise would not qualify for financial aid or academic scholarships. The Lumina Foundation provided a two-year, $2 million grant to Purdue to establish the Gallup-Purdue Good Jobs-Good Lives Index. The Lyles Family Foundation's gift of $15 million will provide long-term funding and investments for critical future needs of the School of Civil Engineering. A $1.5 million estate gift from the Weeks will support scholarships for students interested in agriculture as a profession. An anonymous donor gave $5 million to the School of Civil Engineering to support new initiatives. An anonymous donation of $5 million will support the Affordability and Accessibility Fund, providing need-based scholarships for Purdue students residing in Indiana. An anonymous donor gave $1 million that will support the School of Chemical Engineering and the School of Mechanical Engineering.

The board also approved a plan to increase the amount of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Morgan Burke's deferred compensation through supplemental retirement plan contributions. The new plan, combined with existing Purdue retirement plans in which Burke participates, provide the total retirement benefit stipulated in Burke's contract.  

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, 

Sources: Timothy D. Sands, 765-494-9709,

Joerg Appenzeller, 765-494-1076,

James M. Caruthers, 765-494-6625,

Kuan-Chou Chen, 219-989-2336,

John McConnell, 765-494-5910,

Pat Obi, 219-989-2595,

Morgan Burke, 765-494-3189,

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