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Statistics and mathematics senior Peter Boyd selected as Purdue’s Ross Award winner, honored at spring commencement

July 13, 2017

peter boyd

Peter Boyd, who majored in statistics, actuarial science and mathematics, was named the 2017 G.A. Ross Award winner.

Named for a 1916 alumnus, the award recognizes a graduating senior man who demonstrates high standards of academic achievement, outstanding leadership, strength of character and contribution to Purdue. The award includes $2,000 and a medallion, and his name will be engraved on the award marker at Purdue Mall.

Boyd also was the student responder for his spring commencement ceremony, where he represented his graduating class, including 487 College of Science students.

Boyd, of St. John, Indiana, says a strength of the statistics department and College of Science as a whole is the creation of opportunities for students to learn beyond the classroom.

"I felt that my biggest growth came through research opportunities," he says. "I began research as a sophomore through the Statistics Living-Learning Community and picked up two additional research projects the following years. People in the college were always encouraging me to branch out and use statistics in various disciplines — to explore the world of statistics outside the classroom."

He encourages current students to enjoy their time at Purdue and not stress about grades. One of his favorite memories from his time at Purdue was an intramural Frisbee game.

"The field was super muddy, and both teams were constantly slipping and falling in the mud. I have no idea who won or how we played, I just know that we were laughing the entire game," Boyd says.

Boyd is the second College of Science student within three years to win the G.A. Ross award. Lynne Horngren, director of undergraduate education and academic advising for the college, credits the quality of College of Science students and an outstanding academic advisor. Susan Young (BS '74 and MS '76 Biological Sciences), who retired this year after more than 20 years of service, is the academic advisor who nominated the winning candidates.

"Susan Young was an incredible advocate for her advisees," Horngren says "She worked tirelessly and was a wonderful mentor, ally and coach. Her belief in each student’s potential was unparalleled."

Boyd also credits Young as an excellent advisor.

"She was always doing as much as possible to ensure my success," he says. "She went above and beyond to look out for me and present me with every opportunity imaginable."

He also speaks fondly of Mark Daniel Ward, associate professor of statistics and associate director of actuarial science.

"Dr. Ward had a tremendous impact on my academic and life success thus far," Boyd says. "He's the one who really encouraged me to pursue graduate school and was there for every question along the way."

Boyd notes several others who made an important impact on his undergraduate career, including Sashaun Wood, director of community and student engagement for the Honors College whose door was always open to offer support and advice; and student and friend Giovanni Malloy, whose passion for academics fueled Boyd and encouraged him to always try his best and do all he could both inside and outside of the classroom.

Boyd is a Stamps Scholar and a member of the Honors Leadership Council in the Honors College, Mortar Board, Purdue Student Government and the Honors Mentor Program. He plans to attend graduate school in statistics at Oregon State University and to work as a statistician in the environmental sector.

Snapshot of 2017 spring science graduates

The 2017 spring graduating class is an engaged, active and academically talented group, Craig Svensson, interim dean of the College of Science, says.

"It has been a great privilege to serve the College of Science students, and I am very proud of our recent graduates," he says. "It is an impressive group that has managed the rigor of earning a Purdue degree and embraced the cultural and creative opportunities encouraged on campus and abroad. We wish them well in the next chapter of their academic careers and lives, and we welcome them to the special community of Purdue Science alumni."

Of the 487 students earning a bachelor's degree, 77 percent earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and nearly half participated in research. Many engaged in study abroad, internships, Purdue Bands and Orchestras, ROTC, clubs and other student programs and organizations.

The Department of Computer Science continues to see an increase in its number of graduates. An expansion of the department is part of one of the University’s strategic initiatives to strengthen computer science.

Below is the breakdown of graduates by department:

  • Biological Sciences – 114
  • Chemistry – 32
  • Computer Science – 155
  • Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences – 17
  • Interdisciplinary Science – 6
  • Mathematics – 76
  • Physics and Astronomy – 20
  • Statistics – 67


Links to related stories:

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