November 17, 2017

Appointments, honors and activities

Faculty and staff honors:

- The Indiana Music Education Association announced Jay Gephart, the Al G. Wright Chair and director of bands at Purdue, as the 2018 Outstanding Collegiate Music Educator of the Year. This award is given to those who have exemplified outstanding achievement in the field of music education at the collegiate level. Gephart joined Purdue in the fall of 1995 and was appointed director of university bands in 2006. He is the director of the “All-American” Marching Band and the wind ensemble. Gephart currently holds the position of vice president and treasurer of the John Philip Sousa Foundation and serves on the American Bandmaster’s Association Board of Directors. He also is the current President of Indiana’s chapter of the band fraternity, Phi Beta Mu. IMEA will present the award in January at their annual Professional Development Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For more information about the IMEA Awards, visit

-The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) presented a pair of prestigious awards to two Purdue University Davidson School of Chemical Engineering faculty members. Rakesh Agrawal and Gintaras Reklaitis received awards for outstanding research and education at the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota in October. More information on the awards can be found at


Student honors:

- Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society presented a Gold Torch award to its chapter at Purdue University. The Gold Torch is a national distinction conferred annually upon the most outstanding chapters of Mortar Board. Recipients excel in all areas of chapter operations while promoting scholarship, leadership and meaningful service to their institutions. Purdue Mortar Board President Deklin Veenhuizen of Greenwood, Indiana, and Vice President Thomas Meredith of Danville, Indiana, accepted the award at the Society’s national conference held recently in Phoenix. The chapter was one of 37 earning the honor. Purdue’s Barbara Cook chapter has consistently earned Gold Torch honors and was named Mortar Board’s top chapter in 2002 and again in 2014, making it only one of two chapters to repeat this honor.  

- A student team of Christina Landon, Vindhya Aiyagari, Matthew Welch and Zin Naing

from the Purdue Society of Women Engineers took top honors at the 2017 Student Engineering Challenge in Austin, Texas. The contest, hosted by PepsiCo and the Society of Women Engineers, challenged engineering students to provide ideas for improvements for Pepsi in packaging, water usage and equipment design. The Purdue team, named The Pepsi Choice Project, won one of two interdisciplinary team-based competitions at the “Celebrate SWE! At WE17” event. The projet was designed for the contest during the summer. 

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