May 24, 2018

Longtime entomology professor, administrator chosen to lead Purdue Graduate School

Linda J. Mason Linda J. Mason
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A longtime Purdue Graduate School administrator and professor in the College of Agriculture will become dean of the Graduate School, effective immediately.

Linda J. Mason has been at Purdue since 1991, and was a professor of entomology before joining the Graduate School in 2010 as associate dean and becoming interim dean in August 2017. She succeeds Mark J.T. Smith.

“As a scholar, Linda Mason has been an ambassador for Purdue, an internationally recognized entomologist who has consulted with many of the world’s largest food producers and retailers,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “As our interim dean, she has proven to be a change-oriented administrator, fully ready for her new duties.”

Mason will oversee graduate education that includes more than 80 programs at the West Lafayette campus and nearly 40 programs at Purdue Fort Wayne, Purdue Northwest and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. More than 11,700 graduate students were enrolled in fall 2017.

Mason earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, her master’s degree from Auburn University and her doctorate in entomology from Louisiana State University. She was a biological scientist for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Division of Water Resources before arriving at Purdue in 1991. In 2010 she became associate dean of the Graduate School, then senior associate dean in 2017.

“Dr. Mason has long proven herself to be a creative leader who is able to move an agenda forward,” said Jay T. Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “The search committee was charged with finding the right person to help us define the 21st-century Graduate School, to catalyze creative new graduate degrees and credentials, and to take our support for graduate students and faculty to new levels of excellence. Dr. Mason is that leader. She has demonstrated her ability to advance new ideas as interim dean, including new professional development opportunities for graduate students as well as implementing many, many process improvements. She has been at the forefront of a number of programs to support our graduate students, and her passion for creating an environment where they can thrive clearly stands out.”

Mason helped create the Graduate Parent Support Network for those students who have or will have children. She helped find grant funding for eligible child care and travel expenses that the Purdue Graduate Student Government was not able to fund with its budget, and helped launch the “Say it in 6” competition to recognize graduate students for their research and connection to the community. Say it in 6 will be the cornerstone of the Graduate School’s new effort to promote the graduate experience across campus and the community.

Mason also brought to Purdue the Three Minute Thesis, a research communication competition that was developed by the University of Queensland, Australia. The competition gives graduate students three minutes to present their research, showing its significance and relevance to the public.

“I am looking forward to connecting with administrators, faculty and students across all four campuses,” Mason said. “I’m especially excited to work with the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships to create new research experiences for our graduate students.” 

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, 

Sources: Mitch Daniels,

Jay T. Akridge,

Linda J. Mason, 765-494-6810,

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