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$3 million gift lays cornerstone for Purdue's new alumni center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will break ground on its first alumni center this spring, thanks to a $3 million gift from a Michigan industrialist and his wife, the university announced today (Saturday, 1/12).

Richard E. Dauch

The new $16 million building, designed to become a showcase for Purdue achievements and a home to the Purdue Alumni Association and University Development Office, will be named the Dick & Sandy Dauch Alumni Center in recognition of their gift.

Richard E. Dauch, a former Boilermaker student athlete, and his wife, Sandy, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., are longtime Purdue benefactors responsible for approximately $9 million in support in recent years. Construction on the three-story, 67,000-square-foot alumni center – paid for entirely from private sources – will begin this spring at the southwest corner of Grant and Wood streets, with completion expected in late 2003 or early 2004.

Amid pep band fanfare and a scoreboard flashing "Thanks" to the couple, the Dauchs were honored this afternoon during halftime of the Purdue-Minnesota men's basketball game in Mackey Arena. The event was part of the ongoing "Discover Purdue" campaign to highlight the university's strategic plans and projects.

Richard E. Dauch, co-founder, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of American Axle & Manufacturing in Detroit, earned his bachelor's degree in industrial management and science in 1964 and received an honorary doctorate in 1999. He also played fullback and linebacker on the Boilermaker football team from 1961 to 1963.

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"How fitting it is that this magnificent new center – which will record our greatest accomplishments and nurture our best aspirations throughout the next century – will be named for Dick and Sandy Dauch," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke.

"The Dauchs personify all that this building promises to celebrate: great achievement on campus and beyond, school pride and loyalty – past, present and future – and ongoing community service in the broadest sense. The Dauchs' continuing contributions to Purdue establish them as one of the first families of our extended, worldwide Purdue family, and we are delighted to recognize them for their leadership."

Dauch said he was proud to help his alma mater.

"Sandy and I love Purdue, and we believe in its vision and future," Dauch said. "This university has meant so much to our lives and the lives of our family members, which includes five additional Purdue graduates – twin daughters, our daughter-in-law and two son-in-laws. We also have 14 grandchildren. We hope at least some of them will carry on the family tradition at Purdue. We are glad to be in a position to share our blessings and bring the people who make Purdue great together – to build a center that will honor past success and inspire future accomplishments."

Michael Moaveni, Region 8 Purdue alumni director and a Dauch family friend, played a key role in making the connection between the Dauch family and the alumni center.

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"Dick and Sandy Dauch have maintained a strong relationship with the university and contributed much toward its leadership and excellence," Moaveni said. The Dick & Sandy Dauch Alumni Center symbolizes both the Dauchs' dedication and love for the university as well as the university's recognition of their leadership and support as members of the Purdue family."

Senior Vice President for Advancement Murray M. Blackwelder, in charge of raising funds to build the center, praised the Dauchs for their leadership, vision and generosity.

"The Dauch family's generosity will create greater synergy between the alumni and development efforts essential to achieving the university's strategic plan," Blackwelder said. "Not only will it provide better coordination of these related efforts, but pairing these two offices will benefit our alumni dramatically by creating a wonderful meeting space."

Blackwelder said the center will feature a commissioned Dauch family portrait in honor of their tradition of generosity and school involvement. The main alumni conference room will bear their name as well.

Larry Preo, the alumni association's executive director, who has known the Dauch family for more than 40 years, said, "This portrait is a most appropriate honor for the Dauchs. They have invested their hearts and their resources in this institution, and I am proud they represent the association and university."

Blackwelder and Preo both expressed their hope that the new center will become a destination point for the association's 68,000 members and the 325,000 Purdue alumni living throughout the world.

"We said from the beginning that we want this center to be a facility where alumni will want to come and enjoy time together," Preo said.

The center's first floor is designed as an open gathering place for alumni reunions and meetings. The atrium also will feature a "Gallery of Memories," a changeable showcase for Purdue history and alumni achievements. Interactive kiosks and museum-quality exhibits are planned to highlight Purdue astronauts, Amelia Earhart, Purdue's role in national agricultural accomplishments, other famous alumni and athletic team triumphs. There also will be a catering kitchen and dining facilities to accommodate groups of up to 75 people.

The new center will double the alumni association’s office space and also provide access to shared conference and meeting room space with the University Development Office. The building also will be designed to centralize all Purdue's fund-raising activities.

Throughout his career, Dauch and his family have made numerous contributions to Purdue.

The Dauchs, their sons, Richard F. and David, and daughters, Teri Gigot and Jane Harvey, pledged $5 million over five years to the School of Management and the Krannert Graduate School of Management. The family also has committed almost $1 million over five years to support various initiatives within Purdue athletics.

The contribution to the Krannert School was the anchor gift that kicked off the $55 million "Krannert at the Frontier" fund-raising campaign in 1998. Dauch was chairman of Krannert's strategic planning and campaign steering committee, which assessed the school's needs regarding student and faculty support, new facilities and technology. Krannert's Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises was named in recognition of the family's contribution.

Sandy Dauch was born and raised in Ohio. She arrived at Purdue as a new bride in 1960 and worked at Deac’s bookstore. Her career has been as the manager of the family and its activities while spending countless hours of volunteering both in the schools and the communities. She is an avid sportswoman both as a spectator and a participant.

Richard Dauch began his career in 1964 with General Motors Corp. following his graduation from Purdue. Over the course of his 12 years with GM, he progressed from a college-graduate-in-training to the youngest plant manager in Chevrolet's history. In 1976, he joined Volkswagen of America, where he served as group vice president of manufacturing operations. He also served on the company's board of directors.

Dauch was recruited by Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca in 1980 to help upgrade the company's then-ailing manufacturing operations. He planned and directed the implementation of Chrysler's world-recognized, just-in-time materials management system, three-shift assembly system capability, and dramatically improved the company’s product quality and productivity. He also oversaw the planning and construction of the Chrysler Technical Center and new assembly plants in Michigan and Graz, Australia.

In 1994, Dauch co-founded American Axle & Manufacturing. The company is one of the top 25 automotive suppliers in the world, specializing in the manufacture, engineering, validation and design of driveline systems, chassis systems and forged products for trucks, buses, sport utility vehicles and passenger cars. The company has nearly 12,000 employees in 20 manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol AXL.

Dauch is the author of the book "Passion for Manufacturing," which was distributed in 80 countries in several languages and used as textbook material at colleges and universities, and he has lectured extensively throughout the world on manufacturing.

Dauch has been the recipient of numerous honors during his career. He was named Detroit News Michiganian of the Year (1999), Crain's Detroit Business Newsmaker of the Year (1997), Michigan Manufacturers Association Manufacturer of the Year (1997), the Automotive Hall of Fame's Industry Leader of the Year (1996), and he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (1997).

Dauch serves on the boards of directors of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, Detroit Renaissance and the Economic Club of Detroit. He also serves on the boards and committees of many community and civic organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Detroit Area Council and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan. He has been involved in creating manufacturing and management curricula at several universities, including Purdue, Lehigh University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dauch also will be receiving the World Trader of the Year, recognized by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce for the year 2001, on March 22.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073,

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Richard E. Dauch, (313) 974-2948

Murray M. Blackwelder, (765) 496-2144;

Lawrence S. Preo, (765) 494-5179;

Michael M. Moaveni, (248) 373 2151

The Dick & Sandy Dauch Alumni Center, shown in this artist's rendering, will be built at the corner of Grant and Wood Streets in West Lafayette .The new $16 million facility will be the future home of the Purdue Alumni Association and University Development Office. Purdue officials on Saturday (1/12) announced the building would be named in recognition of the Michigan couple's $3 million gift to make the center possible. Dauch, a 1964 alumnus in industrial management, is chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of American Axle & Manufacturing in Detroit.

A publication-quality photograph is available at Also a publication-quality photograph of Richard Dauch is available at

Purdue alumnus Richard E. Dauch, right, stresses the importance of leadership and leaving a legacy at a luncheon today ( Saturday 1/12) after Purdue announced a $3 million gift from Dauch and his wife that will help build Purdue's first alumni center. The Dick & Sandy Dauch Alumni Center will be located at the intersection of Grant and Wood Streets one block south of the Purdue Memorial Union. It will be a place of homecoming for Purdue's 325,000 alumni worldwide and the home of the Purdue Alumni Association and advancement offices. With Dauch are, from left, Purdue President Martin Jischke and Sandy Dauch of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Dick Dauch is the co-founder and chief executive officer of American Axle and Manufacturing, a leading worldwide supplier of automotive components. (News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph of the lunchenon announcement is available at

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