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Letter to the Community

Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D. Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students 

April 19, 2021

Dear Boilermaker,

“Start your engines!” Since this weekend is the 64th Annual Purdue Grand Prix, The Greatest Spectacle in College Racing, it seems fitting to reference this event as we race to the finish line of this semester and academic year.

There is no question that this past year has been challenging for all of us. All of the uncertainty, the fear of the unknown and the drastic changes in how we have had to adjust our lived and learned experiences have left us exhausted, fatigued and eager for change. Indeed, the word ‘challenging’ seems insufficient in describing the past year and the countless ways a global pandemic has forced us to alter our lives. And yet, I am grateful. Thank you! You, our students, are to be celebrated and thanked for your dedication and commitment to Protect Purdue. As members of the Purdue Boilermaker family, you regularly and consistently stayed and continue to stay on track. Your efforts have unequivocally helped us to see the now-in-view checkered flag, signifying the end of this year’s race and end of the semester. We remain proud of the way you have handled the challenges of this pandemic.

We have two weeks left in the semester followed by finals. At this point of the semester, many of us feel as though we are ‘running on fumes’. That is normal and to some degree, expected. Please continue to hang in there and know the finish line is in sight. You’ve got this! Countless people are cheering for you and are part of your pit crew ready, willing and able to assist you. When you need a pit stop, take one and allow yourself time to recharge and refuel. Share with others how you’re doing and where you might be in need of assistance. Resources in nearly every imaginable area remain available to assist you in staying on track and finishing strong.

The white flag signifying this is the final lap of the semester is currently waving. The checkered flag, noting the end of this particular race - this wild ride of the past year - will be the one you see very soon. Buckle up, settle in and keep those engines running strong to the finish line.

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue and each of you!


Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost & Dean of Students
Purdue University
Schleman Hall| Room 207
475 Stadium Mall Drive | West Lafayette, IN  47907
Phone:  765.494.1257| Email:

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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