June 29, 2016

Several Purdue representatives will carry Bicentennial Torch

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Purdue University will have more than 20 runners participating locally in this year's Indiana Bicentennial Torch relay.

A total of 21 people were announced Wednesday (June 29) as torchbearers for the relay celebrating the state's 200-year anniversary.

The list of torchbearers include Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who will carry the torch past university benefactor John Purdue's grave, and Betty Nelson, dean of students emerita and longtime faculty member who guided students by creating the Disability Resource Center and establishing the Student Leadership Development Program.

Nelson will start the Purdue portion of the relay near her sign at Grant Street and Northwestern Avenue.

Mike Piggott, the Tippecanoe County coordinator for the Bicentennial Commission, said more than a third of the local torchbearers have a Purdue connection.

Other Purdue torchbearers are Aaron Madrid, university bicycle operations coordinator; women's basketball coach Sharon Versyp; Nancy Cross, senior athletics director for development and sports; students Sheriff Almakki and Brianne Reed; former Purdue football players Bart Burrell, Mark Herrmann and Leroy Keyes; David Wolf, alumnus and NASA astronaut; Thomas Bradt, a volunteer firefighter and research engineer at Bowen Laboratory; Cathy Wright-Eger, former women's swimming coach; Geri Denger, student body president; Steve Florence, technical service manager, Mechanical Engineering; Thomas Howell, a Vietnam veteran and faculty member of the Department of Statistics; Pam Mow, a leader in Gold Star Mothers and administrative assistant to the head of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology; Capt. Keene Red Elk, Purdue Police Department; Terri Smith-Wright, an 18-year volunteer for the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society and assistant director of capital projects for University Residences; Dustin Weisner, president of the Student Veteran Organization who is running in honor of late astronaut and Purdue alumnus Virgil “Gus” Grissom; and Andrew Zeller, president of Graduate Student Government.

"Though most will be taking part in the campus portion of the relay, many will be carrying the torch in other parts of the community, a reflection of their contributions toward making this a great place to live," Piggott said. "Just as we will be excited to see the president carry the torch past John Purdue's grave and an astronaut circling the Neil Armstrong statue, we can be proud of a Gold Star Mother, a volunteer firefighter, a Leukemia-Lymphoma Society leader and a Vietnam veteran."

In addition to Purdue’s local torchbearers, Purdue North Central Chancellor Emeritus James B. Dworkin will carry the torch in LaPorte County and Professor Emerita Linda Duttlinger will be a torchbearer in Jasper County.

State officials announced the overall list of 2,200 torchbearers today who will participate in carrying the torch across each of Indiana's 92 counties.

Torchbearers were chosen from nominations by each county in the state.

The torch is scheduled to travel through Tippecanoe County around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12 and cross into Warren County by mid-afternoon. It is expected to be on Purdue campus late in the morning. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Source: Mike Piggott, 765-494-9386, piggott@purdue.edu

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