Purdue awards honorary doctorate to U.S. nuclear security leader Jill Hruby
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — U.S. administrator for nuclear security and Purdue University alumna Jill Hruby (ME, ’81), received an honorary doctorate from the College of Engineering on May 13, 2022 at the university’s spring commencement.
In 2015, after 32 years serving Sandia National Laboratories in roles of increasing responsibility, Hruby became its president and laboratories director — the first woman to do so. She retired from that role in 2017 and became the first Sam Nunn Distinguished Fellow with the U.S. Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Ernest Moniz, NTI co-chair and CEO, said of Hruby’s selection: “We looked for someone with the talents Sam embodies: an ability to identify new threats on the horizon, an interest in practical solutions, and a spirit of collaboration. We found them all in Jill.”
In July 2021, Hruby was confirmed as undersecretary for nuclear security at the Department of Energy and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. In this role, Hruby oversees efforts to sustain the country’s nuclear stockpile and provide new technologies to lower costs, remain ahead of our adversaries and develop advanced capabilities to enhance nuclear security, arms control and Navy reactors.
In supporting Hruby’s nomination to her current role, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said: “Jill is one of DOE’s very best success stories — she rose through the ranks at Sandia National Labs to become the first woman to lead a national security lab, and now she’s the perfect person to head up our efforts to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent and protect our national security. She is a brilliant leader, a model public servant, and an inspiration to engineers and rising stars everywhere.”
In 2014, The Purdue College of Engineering recognized Hruby with its Distinguished Alumna Award. Two years later, she received the Suzanne Jenniches Upward Mobility Award from the Society of Women Engineers. In 2017, Business Insider named her the second most powerful female engineer.
Hruby also has received the Department of Energy Secretary’s Exceptional Service Award, the National Nuclear Security Administrator’s Distinguished Service Gold Award, and Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
Hruby has been a member of the Defense Science Board, the National Nuclear Security Administration Defense Programs Advisory Committee, and the National Academy of Science Committee for International Security and Arms Control. She has served on a variety of technical advisory committees and non-profit organization boards. She is a frequent participant in international dialogues; a spokesperson for women in engineering; and a mentor for emerging leaders.