sealPurdue News

May 4, 2000

Alumnus gives $10 million to build
Krannert's competitive assets

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A $10 million commitment from Purdue alumnus Jerry Rawls, one of the largest private gifts in the university's history, has pushed the Krannert School of Management's fund-raising campaign past its halfway mark.

The Krannert at the Frontier campaign's goal is to raise $55 million for a new building, scholarships, professorships and high technology.

Rawls, president, chief executive officer and director of Finisar Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif., earned a master's degree in industrial administration in 1968 from the Krannert School. He said lessons learned at Krannert played a large role in his personal success.

"The Krannert School's MSIA program was important in my life," Rawls said. "It provided me, a young engineering graduate, with vastly broadened horizons and opportunities. It helped me develop the understanding of what was involved in building and running a business enterprise.

"Dan Schendel, Charlie Tritschler, Bill Lewellen, Bob Johnson, Dave Ewert, Phil Scaletta and others were all brilliant professors and wonderful teachers."

The campaign is the largest privately funded project in Purdue's history. A new $32 million building will be constructed across the street from the existing Krannert Building at the corner of State and Grant streets on the West Lafayette campus. The campaign also seeks $23 million to fund scholarships, endowed professorships and high-technology equipment. To date, the campaign efforts have raised $35.4 million.

The $10 million commitment by Rawls is the largest single gift in the Krannert School's history.

"The gift from Jerry Rawls is a major milestone for the Krannert School," said Richard A. Cosier, Krannert School dean and Leeds Professor of Management. "It allows us to proceed on schedule with the construction of our new building and positions us well to realize our goal of strengthening faculty endowments and student scholarships.

"We are deeply indebted to Jerry for his generosity and foresight. He has stepped to the plate and given his full support to a school and a program for which he has strong positive feelings."

Cosier said a recommendation would be sent to the Purdue Board of Trustees to name the new building Jerry S. Rawls Hall. The building, which will have approximately 126,000 square feet and four floors above ground, is tentatively scheduled to be completed in fall 2003.

"This is a very exciting project and a very beautiful building," Rawls said. "The lecture hall, classrooms, breakout rooms and offices have been well-planned for student and faculty comfort, and will also include state-of-the-art computer and communication networks. The open multistory foyer will be spectacular. The new building will be a terrific competitive asset for Krannert."

President Steven C. Beering said: "Jerry Rawls' gift strengthens the Krannert School's position as one of the top business schools in the country. Purdue has built its reputation in the management field by graduating people with strong analytical skills, excellent leadership capability and a great work ethic. The impact of Jerry's investment will be wide-ranging and permanent."

Rawls has served as Finisar's president since 1989. Finisar develops and manufactures fiber optic subsystems and test systems for high-speed (faster than one gigabit per second) data communications. The principal markets for its products are Fibre Channel storage area networks, Gigabit Ethernet local area networks, Metropolitan data networks, and cable television networks.

Before joining Finisar, Rawls was employed at Raychem Corp., a materials science and engineering company. At Raychem, he held various management positions, including division general manager of the Aerospace Products Division and the Interconnection Systems Division.

In addition to his master's degree from Purdue, Rawls holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma engineering honor societies.

"The Krannert School can provide engineers and scientists with a foundation for using quantitative methods to analyze business problems and make decisions," Rawls said. "It teaches technically trained persons to understand business activities and processes. Krannert's graduate programs can be a wonderful 'finishing school' for engineers who want to build and manage businesses."

Source: Richard A. Cosier, (765) 494-4366,

Writer: Tim Newton, (765) 496-7271,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS:  A publication-quality photo of Jerry Rawls is available at the Purdue News Service ftp site,

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