Purdue News

April 2005

A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke

Dear Purdue partners,

Although the state spending plan passed April 29 by the Indiana General Assembly will force Purdue to make some very difficult choices, the legislation at least gives us the basis for constructing a budget that will preserve the university’s academic excellence and keep our strategic plan on course during the next two fiscal years.

The state’s operating appropriations to Purdue’s West Lafayette and Calumet campuses for the next two fiscal years will remain essentially level with the funding provided for the current year. Purdue North Central and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne will receive small adjustments for equity and enrollment growth.

By any measure, we are facing an arduous budget process, but there is some good news in the state's allocations. The General Assembly appropriated about $8 million each year for repair and rehabilitation. This amount doubles the appropriations for the current year, but it represents only about 50 percent of the funding called for in the formula designed to cover the cost of maintaining the University's facilities and infrastructure.

The state's R&R formula has been fully funded only once in the last ten years. As a result, Purdue is struggling to cope with a growing deferred maintenance problem that has reached crisis proportions. This funding will allow us to begin to reverse the deterioration of our facilities. In addition, a capital appropriation will help the West Lafayette campus address a power plant upgrade that is mandated by federal requirements and critical improvement in the electrical distribution and storm water infrastructure systems.

The state budget also continues funding to support research, which is an important factor in Purdue's efforts to support state economic development.


In constructing Purdue's budget, we must deal with mandated costs, including employee health benefits and the expense of operating our facilities. We also will continue to stay the course on our strategic plan. Although we will make every effort to offer modest salary increases, I believe we are likely to lose some competitive ground to our peer institutions.

I believe the General Assembly and Governor Mitch Daniels worked hard to find support for higher education during a very tough legislative session, and we are genuinely grateful for those efforts. However, the small amounts of additional revenue provided do not meet the university's urgent needs in several areas. Our state remains in a precarious fiscal situation, and the future will depend on our ability to attract and develop new business. Purdue is committed to playing a key role in that effort.

A good example of this commitment occurred on April 26 when the University and the Purdue Research Foundation participated in the announcement that INTECH Park had become Indianapolis' second state-certified technology park. In conjunction with that event, we announced that Andara Life Science Inc. would locate its headquarters at INTECH. Andara is a new company that has been licensed to commercialize a potentially revolutionary Purdue-developed treatment for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. Two other companies – Bioanalytical Systems Inc. and Endocyte Inc. – are establishing satellite offices at INTECH Park. Both are based at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette.

These three firms are excellent examples of the kind of new companies Indiana must encourage in order to expand our economy. Small knowledge-based firms are seeds that have the potential to produce a great economic harvest, but we must plant a lot of them. The research at Purdue and other universities is a key to developing these companies. The work done at research-intensive institutions is essential in this process, but universities can only do it successfully in partnership with government and private entrepreneurs.


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