Research Foundation News

December 4, 2019

Student football community project to support cancer research, honor Tyler Trent

Trent donation Students from Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences presented a check on Wednesday (Dec. 4) to the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. The students donated the money they raised from a concession stand to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment. (Purdue University image/Mark Simons) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A community service project at Purdue University home football games has helped to raise thousands of dollars to support cancer research in memory of Tyler Trent, a Purdue graduate and superfan who died from a rare type of bone cancer.

Keith Molter, who teaches a course in operations in Purdue’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, requires students in the class to complete a community service project. This year, they managed the entire operation of a concession stand at home football games at Ross-Ade Stadium. More than 50 students worked at the stand during seven games.

“It is important that we teach students not only about business but also making a difference for the community in which they live,” Molter said. “This was an exciting opportunity because students learned firsthand what it takes to run a food operation and deal with the business aspect and the customer-service components.”

Over the course of the seven games, the students’ concession stand earned $5,000. The students decided to donate the money to the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment, which funds cancer research at the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research.

Trent died in early 2019 after a battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Trent, an inspiration to many for his grace as he battled cancer and cheered for his Boilermakers, was the first student member of the center’s Director’s Advancement Board, and he donated his osteosarcoma tumors before his death to be used for research to help others.

When Molter contacted the center, he learned that matching funds were available, making the total contribution $10,000 to the endowment to support cancer research. Trent’s legacy also lives on through the Tyler Trent Memorial Gate, which leads to the student-section entrance at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium.

“We were reminded of the impact of our service each time we walked by the memorial gate as we worked at the concession stand,” said Mandy Scott, an exchange student from Griffith University in Australia, who worked at the stand with her classmates. “I have been incredibly touched by the hospitality and kindness I have experienced here at Purdue and in Indiana.”

Molter worked with Boilermaker Hospitality, via Levy Restaurants, which is the exclusive caterer for Purdue Athletics. The company let the students run the concession stand operation on their own, providing them with real-time profit-and-loss information.

In addition to managing the endowment, the Purdue Center for Cancer Research and its scientists and researchers work with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent some of their technologies. 

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org.

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org 

Sources: Keith Molter, molter@purdue.edu

Mandy Scott, scott549@purdue.edu


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