April 1, 2022

Purdue for Life Foundation announces Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging division

WEST LAFAYTTE, Ind. — The Purdue for Life Foundation has launched a new division in support of Purdue University’s diversity, inclusion and belonging priorities and its Equity Task Force, which is one of five Purdue Next Moves initiatives.

gatson-j22 Jacqueline M. Gatson
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Led by Jacqueline M. Gatson, assistant vice president of advancement for diversity, inclusion and belonging, the division will develop a broad range of alumni engagement and fundraising strategies to create and strengthen connections with potential volunteers, mentors, industry partners and donors. Gatson received a Bachelor of Arts from Grambling State University and holds two degrees from Kansas State University: a Master of Science and a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership.

Mark Gaines serves as the chief development officer, and the division is currently expanding to include a director of industry partnerships and a director of foundation relations.

“The Equity Task Force is committed to ensuring an equitable, holistic experience for all Boilermakers, with a current focus on the Black Boilermaker community,” Gatson said. “To do this, we will address areas of recruitment, retention and the overall campus experience of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. We will employ innovative strategies that are both intentional and authentic.

“Our team will be setting ambitious goals to help Purdue in this endeavor through alumni engagement, fundraising, community and industry partnerships and foundation relations. Through these pathways, we aim to enhance the Purdue community and create meaningful opportunities for community, collaboration and support.”

Alumni can make a difference for today’s students by staying involved through their participation and their dollars, said Angela Dodd, vice president of the Purdue Black Alumni Organization (PBAO) and a 1983 graduate of Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering. She is an alumni member of the Equity Task Force.

“Supporting Purdue’s investment in programming targeted specifically for Black students exponentially increases the opportunity for a positive experience on campus,” Dodd said. “Whether we support the Black Cultural Center, Minority Engineering Program, the Business Opportunity Program, or programs in the College of Veterinary Medicine, we can work to connect Black students both to each other and to the university.”

PBAO and the Purdue for Life Foundation’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging division will focus on “cluster cities” — targeted locales where a large number of alumni and potential students reside — to increase the opportunity for alumni engagement and participation in PBAO-hosted recruiting events.

In addition, the division has identified a number of interconnected priorities:

  • Recruitment: Encourage alumni participation in the Purdue Alumni Recruitment for Tomorrow (PART) recruitment program, to help increase the number of Purdue undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented populations.
  • Fundraising: Engage in fundraising activity for scholarships and retention programs through individual, foundation and corporate gifts as well as PBAO’s Lacey-Mason Giving Circle, which supports both scholarships and campus programming.
  • Industry partnerships: Identify high-impact summer opportunities through internships, co-ops and research for Purdue students and students at the Purdue Polytechnic High Schools in Indianapolis and South Bend. Develop industry partnerships to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in the workforce and through entrepreneurial endeavors.

“I look forward to continuing my work with the Boilermaker family, alumni, industry partners and the community at large,” Gatson said. “We are building momentum for our next giant leap, and I hope Purdue alumni and friends will join in this important work.”

To find out more about the Purdue for Life Foundation’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Division, contact Gatson at diversity@purdueforlife.org.

To donate to diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives, visit connect.purdue.edu/dib.

To apply for positions with the Purdue for Life Foundation, visit Careers with Purdue for Life - Purdue for Life Foundation.

About Purdue for Life Foundation

The Purdue for Life Foundation helps friends and alumni of Purdue University stay connected, get involved and give back. Created in March 2020, the Foundation deepens alumni ties to Purdue, drives and coordinates all alumni-related activities across the Purdue family’s post-graduation lives, and works with alumni and friends to garner support for the University

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu. 

Media contact: Jim Bush, 765-336-1909, jsbush@purdue.edu 


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