May 3, 2016  

Ely Lilly leader, distinguished chemical and biological engineering stalwart to receive Purdue honorary doctorates

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The president and CEO of Ely Lilly and Co., and a chemical and biological engineering stalwart will receive honorary doctoral degrees during Purdue University's spring commencement ceremonies.

Lilly executive John C. Lechleiter and Kristi S. Anseth, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering professor at the University of Colorado, and the first engineer to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute medical investigator, will receive honoraries.

Purdue will host six ceremonies May 13-15, all taking place in the Elliott Hall of Music on campus. Anseth will be honored during the 8 p.m. ceremony on May 13, with Lechleiter honored during the 2:30 p.m. May 14 event.

John Lechleiter

John Lechleiter
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Lechleiter will receive his honorary doctorate from Purdue's College of Pharmacy. He has been president and CEO at Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly since April 2008 and became chairman of the board of directors in January 2009. He joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development and became head of the department in 1982. He began two years later as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England, and later held roles in project management, regulatory affairs, product development and pharmaceutical operations. He was named president and chief operating officer in 2005.

Lechleither received his bachelor's degree in science from Xavier University and his master's and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He holds honorary doctorates from Marian University, the University of Indianapolis, the National University of Ireland, Indiana University and Franklin College. Among his board positions, he is chairman of the U.S.-Japan Business Council and United Way Worldwide, and serves on the boards for Nike Inc., and Ford Motor Co.

Kristi Anseth

Kristi S. Anseth 
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Anseth, a 1992 Purdue graduate, will receive her honorary degree from the College of Engineering. She earned her doctoral degree in 1994 from the University of Colorado and conducted post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering as an associate professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1996. She conducts research in the interface between biology and engineering, designing new biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine.

Anseth was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 2009, and the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. She received a Distinguished Engineering Alumni award from Purdue in 2012 and serves on Purdue's College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077,

Sources: Christine DeHahn Pass, senior assistant registrar, 765-494-6163,

Carla Reeves, executive assistant, Office of the Provost, 765-494-6835,

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