Message from President Daniels

December 18, 2017

Alumni and friends,

Today, no matter where you live in this world, you can look to the sky and know another Purdue astronaut is up there rocketing his way to the International Space Station. Scott Tingle and his fellow crew members of Expedition 54 blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Sunday morning. We take great pride in our astronaut heritage at Purdue — Scott is among 23 astronauts and one astronaut candidate who have claimed Purdue as their alma mater. I know we all will be watching this adventure with great interest.

Scott Tingle prepares for mission to International Space Station

NASA Photo/Joel Kowsky

Our interest and connection to space, of course, isn’t only with NASA astronauts. Among the many educational and research projects surrounding space exploration, we have a team of Purdue students and alumni who will take command Dec. 30-Jan. 14 of the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. The seven-member Boilers2Mars team will conduct individual experiments, perform tests on new space suits and some medical procedures during their mission, the first at the station to consist entirely of Purdue students and alumni. You can follow reports from the research station here.

Purdue students, faculty and staff continue to earn recognition for their accomplishments and potential. We recently announced that Abby Lemert, a senior Honors College and multidisciplinary engineering student from Fort Wayne, is our first Marshall Scholarship winner in 25 years. The prestigious Marshall Scholarship provides high-ability students with the opportunity to study for a graduate degree in any field of study in the United Kingdom. Only 43 students from the U.S. received the award and we are proud to count Abby among them.

Also of particular note, our executive vice president for research and partnerships, Suresh Garimella, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, an honor awarded to those who have been nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions in patents and licensing, noteworthy discovery, significant effect on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. Most of you know the importance we place on innovation and bringing our discoveries to the marketplace where they can have great impact, and we are pleased to have another of our distinguished faculty receive this great honor.

In other news of note during the weeks since I last wrote, we have announced that Jay Akridge is our permanent provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity after serving in the role as interim since July 1. Jay, formerly dean of our highly ranked College of Agriculture, is a longtime Boilermaker and one who exemplifies the level of excellence to which we all aspire. Our trustees ratified his appointment in early December.

At the same meeting, Trustees approved room and board rates for 2018-19, ensuring that for the sixth consecutive year, Purdue’s West Lafayette students will see no increase in room and board rates. Combined with our zero tuition increase, this means that the total cost of attending Purdue will be less in 2019 than it was in 2012. We can find no evidence that any other school can say the same.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here and publicly congratulate the 2,000 outstanding graduates who crossed the stage of Elliott Hall of Music on Sunday and among them 28 who completed ROTC training as well. I was extremely honored to again take part in the solemn and stirring commissioning ceremony for these young men and women who will go on to become leaders in protecting the citizens of our country and others around the world.

ROTC students participate in commissioning ceremoney

Early in 2018, you’ll receive my annual open letter to the people of Purdue, my sixth since joining you at this great university. My intent and that of our administration, faculty and staff, is to continue to strive for the highest levels of excellence, or as we so often say, higher education at the highest proven value.

As we watch 2017 draw to a close, I thank you all for the support you provide to our faculty, staff and students, and I wish you nothing but the best.


Hail Purdue,

Mitch Daniels

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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