seal  Letter from the President

July 2003

A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke

When we launched the Campaign for Purdue in the fall of 2002, one of the things my staff and I worried about was the state of the national economy, which had lost much of the momentum it showed in the 1990s. We couldn't help asking ourselves whether a major fund-raising effort – with a goal of $1.3 billion – was realistic at a time when financial opportunities seemed to be declining. After very careful study, we decided that the needs of the university and the excitement that had been building among Purdue's alumni and friends about the future were more powerful factors than the economic situation.

That faith was more than vindicated when the 2002-2003 fiscal year ended on June 30. Gifts to Purdue for the year set a new record, totaling almost $312 million – an increase of 33 percent over 2001-2002. The number also far exceeded our goal of $300 million. The success brought the total raised for the campaign to more than $716 million, which takes us more than halfway to the $1.3 billion goal.

One of the truisms of fund raising is that large gifts are the drivers of success, and that certainly is true for Purdue. Last year's total included the largest corporate and the largest individual gifts in the university's history:

• Partners for the Advancement of CAD/CAM/CAE Education (PACE), an alliance that includes General Motors, Sun Microsystems and EDS, made a gift of $116.1 million in software.

• Bill Bindley, a Purdue alumnus from Indianapolis, donated $52.5 million to fund construction of a new bioscience research center in Discovery Park. The center will bear his name.

Gifts of this magnitude made the record fund-raising year possible, but I think it's just as significant that the number of individuals providing financial support to Purdue is increasing. More than 80,000 people made contributions last year – also a record.

Almost half the $312 million total – 49 percent – came from corporations. This unusually high proportion is due to the magnitude of the PACE gift. Alumni and friends donated 43 percent, and foundations and other organizations accounted for 8 percent.

This remarkable fund-raising success during slow economic times is a tribute to the commitment of the people and organizations that form the Purdue community. They recognize that investments in education have tremendous impact, because those investments empower people to fulfill their potential. When they take advantage of the opportunities education creates, people become more successful in every way – not only financially, but personally and civically. They become contributors to society, and, in the aggregate, educated people create a better world.

Like state-supported universities, Purdue depends increasingly on private support. While state appropriations and student fees support most of the cost of educating students, private gifts play an essential role. Almost all the money we plan to raise in the Campaign for Purdue will support the objectives of the university's strategic plan, and the strategic plan has a single underlying purpose: to make Purdue a better university. We are doing that thanks to the donors whose generosity and vision made this remarkable year possible.

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Although the population is down on the West Lafayette campus during the summer months, there still is plenty of activity, including the filling of key administrative positions. Riall W. Nolan, associate provost and director for the Institute of Global Studies and Affairs at the University of Cincinnati, has been named dean of International Programs. He will join Purdue on Jan. 1. George Hynd, who had been University of Georgia's associate dean for research and external affairs, has started work as dean of the School of Education at Purdue. We continue to be successful in recruiting our top choices for key positions.

Finally, at their July 11 meeting, the Purdue Board of Trustees re-elected Tim McGinley and Wayne Townsend as chairman and vice chairman of the board, respectively. These men have provided outstanding vision and leadership. The board also welcomed its newest member, Bob Peterson of Rochester. With this combination of board veterans and new members, the people of Indiana can be assured that their land-grant university is in good hands!