sealPurdue News

September 4, 1998

Purdue selects first recipient of administrative chair

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue Board of Trustees today (Friday, 9/4) named the university's executive vice president for academic affairs, Robert L. Ringel, as the Donald S. Powers Distinguished University Administrator.

The honor, the first such for an administrator, is the equivalent of the distinguished chairs traditionally awarded to faculty members. It is named after Powers, former chairman of the board of trustees. He served on the board from 1975 to 1990.

Robert L. Ringel
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President Steven C. Beering told the trustees: "Purdue grants distinguished chairs to its most outstanding professors for internationally recognized scholarship and teaching. Bob Ringel -- in addition to being among the giants in his academic discipline -- has spent 28 years as a Purdue administrator. In each of several key positions, he has set new standards for excellence and has earned the deep respect of his colleagues. In every way, he is a distinguished administrator. His impact on Purdue and on all of higher education has been significant and enduring."

Powers, who lives in Munster, Ind., commented: "It was my privilege to work with Bob Ringel for many years. His knowledge, his concern for students and his integrity are unmatched. I am honored that he has accepted this chair."

Ringel, who holds a faculty appointment as professor of audiology and speech sciences, will receive the highest recognition in his field later this year when the 90,000-member American Speech-Language-Hearing Association presents him with the Honors of the Association. The award recognizes his pioneering research and his advocacy of a scientific base in the study of speech and language communication disorders.

As executive vice president for academic affairs since 1991, Ringel has oversight over all academic activities of the university, which include the schools, faculty and students. His duties include matters dealing with undergraduate and graduate student recruitment and retention; the quality of academic curriculum; the recruitment and development of faculty; the operation of such academic support systems as the library, computing center, student services (admissions, registrar, financial aid and health facilities); and a number of research centers and institutes.

Ringel, who continues to teach classes at Purdue, has served as a member of the Executive Council Committee of Chief Academic Officers for the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.

Programs developed under his supervision have received affirmative action awards, including:

  • Purdue's Historically Black Institution Visitation Program: Purdue's most successful program for recruiting African-American graduate students, it brings these students to campus as undergraduates to introduce them to the possibilities of seeking an advanced degree from Purdue. The program also helps Purdue establish ties with faculty at the other campuses.

  • Spousal Employment Opportunity: Through this program, spouses of highly recruited faculty are supported in tenure-track positions.

  • The Minority Bridge Program: This faculty recruitment effort allows the university to offer competitive salaries to qualified minority candidates as they become available for employment.

  • Tenure Probation Period Extension: Nontenured faculty members who experience a significant event (such as childbirth, care of a dependent or a personal health crisis) that interferes with their career development may be granted an extension of 12 to 24 months to their probationary period.

  • Spousal Relocation Effort: This provides wide-area community professional employment contact for faculty spouses who are non-employable as university faculty or staff.

Ringel served as vice president and dean of the graduate school from 1986 to 1990. He joined Purdue in 1966 as a professor of audiology and speech sciences and became head of that department in 1970. In 1973 he was appointed dean of the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (now the School of Liberal Arts).

A frequent international lecturer, consultant and author on topics of contemporary importance in higher education, he has spoken to and advised universities, federal agencies and the private sector on issues that include: student accessibility; the impact of federal policy changes; accreditation and accountability; learning in the information age; instructional technology and distance education; and value-added education.

In 1959 he earned his bachelor's degree in speech pathology from Brooklyn College, from which he later received two distinguished alumni awards. He earned a master's in audiology and speech science from Purdue in 1960 and his doctorate from Purdue in 1962.

Powers, the owner of the Don Powers Agency Inc., an insurance and real estate firm, received his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Purdue in 1947. He served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean War.

Source: Robert Ringel, (765) 494-9709

Writer: Jeanne Norberg (765) 494-2084; e-mail,,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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