sealPurdue News

May 13, 2000

Purdue recognizes Beerings with honorary degrees

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University today (Saturday, 5/13) honored its outgoing president, Steven C. Beering, and his wife, Jane, with honorary degrees.

Download Photo Here
Photo caption below

"Steven Beering's tenure as president has been one of the most important in Purdue's 131-year history," J. Timothy McGinley, chairman of Purdue's board of trustees, said just before awarding the degrees at the second of four commencement ceremonies held this weekend in Elliott Hall of Music on the West Lafayette campus. "He has taken this university to new heights of excellence in scholarship, research, development, private fundraising, capital improvements and national and international prominence.

"He and first lady Jane Beering have motivated and inspired the entire Purdue family as a tireless team since 1983. What he achieved in his office in the ensuing 17 years, as well as on this campus, and around this nation and the world in support of Purdue and its people has been absolutely remarkable. That legacy has positioned Purdue for ever-higher levels of greatness in the new millennium. And all of us in the Purdue family are thankful for that."

President Beering was awarded an honorary doctorate of science. Mrs. Beering was awarded an honorary doctorate of hospitality management. McGinley said the diplomas traveled in the space shuttle Endeavor with Purdue alumnus Jerry Ross.

Beering has announced he will step down June 30 or whenever a new president can be installed. A search committee has been at work since fall looking for his successor.

While Beering has been at Purdue, enrollment at the West Lafayette campus has grown from 32,455 to a record 37,746 this past fall. International student enrollment has gone from 1,334 students to 4,133 students from 127 countries. Purdue has more international students than any other public research institution. The university has awarded more than 164,000 degrees during Beering's tenure.

Beering's administration has been marked by efforts to emphasize undergraduate teaching and enhance faculty recognition through the creation and funding of special professorships. The number of distinguished and named professorships has grown from 21 in 1983 to 70 today.

Beering also has led a major effort to build and beautify the university's campuses. Major construction projects completed on the West Lafayette campus under his administration have included a Liberal Arts and Education Building; Hillenbrand Hall, a student residence; the new Black Cultural Center; a new food science and biotechnology complex; and major additions to the engineering, veterinary medicine and athletic complexes, including golf course renovations. Additions to the Krannert Graduate School of Management, the Schools of Engineering, an aquatics center and a creative arts center are now planned or under construction. The campus landscape and skyline have been transformed by a new bell tower and the creation of several outdoor malls.

During his administration, annual support for sponsored research has grown to more than $130 million. In 1989, Beering launched the Vision 21 campaign, the most ambitious private fund-raising effort in Purdue's history. In five years, it raised more than $330 million, surpassing its goal by more than $80 million. Purdue's endowment in 1983 was $121 million. Today it exceeds $1 billion.

Beering was named the ninth president of Purdue in 1983 after serving as dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the I.U. Medical Center.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he subsequently was graduated from the Pitt School of Medicine and spent more than 12 years in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. During his military career, he served as an adviser to the U.S. surgeon general in internal medicine and was a medical consultant on the U.S. space programs' early attempts to put humans in orbit.

He has held senior positions with numerous national and state committees, boards of directors and educational policy-making groups. He is the immediate past president of the Association of American Universities and was co-chairman of the NCAA Presidents' Commission Subcommittee on Gender Equity.

He is a member of the National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine.

Jane Beering has played a key role in support of Purdue’s philanthropic efforts since arriving on campus in 1983, in particular through her interaction with alumni and friends, corporate partners and civic leaders. She oversaw the renovation and expansion of the president’s residence, Westwood, and has hosted more than 100 events a year involving some 12,000 Purdue alumni, faculty, staff, and friends annually. At Westwood, she regularly hosts student organizations for recognition and honorary events.

She is past president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Council of Spouses, and compiled and edited the handbook for the association’s spouses.

She is a expert needleworker and designer, specializing in crewel, canvas and counted-thread embroidery. She was a founder of the Indianapolis chapter of the Embroiders’ Guild of America, and past chair of the Guild’s National Master Craftsman Program in Crewel. She also devotes her time to a range of service and arts organizations in Greater Lafayette and Indianapolis.

Born and reared in Pittsburgh, Mrs. Beering graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in international political science, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.

She held positions with the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC, and the International Division of Mine Safety Appliances Company in Pittsburgh prior to raising a family of three sons.

The Beerings were married in December 1956 and have three adult children.

Writer: J. Michael Willis, (765) 494-0371;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Purdue President Steven C. Beering (center), and his wife, Jane, receive surprise honorary doctor of science and doctor of hospitality management degrees, respectively, this morning (Saturday, 5/13/00) by J. Timothy McGinley, chairman of the Purdue Board of Trustees, during one of four commencement ceremonies this weekend on the West Lafayette campus. Beering is relinquishing the presidency this year after a 17-year tenure described by McGinley as "one of the most important in Purdue's 131-year history."
A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: beerings.honorary

Download Photo Here

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page