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* Martin C. Jischke has 'exceeded the expectations that we had' in taking Purdue to the next level (5 minutes 22 seconds)

June 12, 2007

Neil Armstrong presents Jischke with award; scholarship fund progress announced

Armstrong Medal presented
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Purdue President Martin C. Jischke was awarded the university's first-ever Neil Armstrong Medal of Excellence by the former astronaut and Purdue alumnus during a dinner Tuesday (June 12) for Purdue trustees and other university and government leaders.

University leaders also announced progress on scholarships established in honor of Martin and Patty Jischke.

The Neil Armstrong Medal of Excellence was established earlier this year to recognize outstanding contributions to the student experience at Purdue. Recipients will be those who have made a significant impact on the university and its students through the development or improvement of academic programs, increased access or enhancements to the quality of student life.

"Purdue established the Neil Armstrong Medal of Excellence to honor those rare individuals who have embodied the same pioneer spirit, determination and dedication that distinguished Neil Armstrong's exploration of space and his later roles as a businessman and scholar," said J. Timothy McGinley, chairman of the Purdue board of trustees. "There's no better person to honor with the first Armstrong Medal than Martin Jischke, a tremendous leader who has spent the past seven years making Purdue better in every way.

"We are honored that Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong has chosen to allow this medal to bear his name, and we also are honored to be presenting it to such an outstanding leader."

Armstrong Medal
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The Armstrong Medal will be given at the trustees' discretion, based on the recommendation of a seven-member committee to be appointed in the future by the university's president. The final committee recommendations will be subject to review and approval by Armstrong prior to being submitted to the president.

In future years, the medal will be presented by Armstrong or his designee at the annual University Honors Convocation.

Armstrong received a bachelor's degree from Purdue in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1955 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering from Purdue in 1970.

On July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon as commander of Apollo 11.

In addition to the Armstrong Medal, Jischke was presented with a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor that the governor of Indiana bestows. It is traditionally awarded to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians and others who have contributed to Hoosier heritage.

Purdue officials announced gift totals so far for scholarships established in honor of Martin and Patty Jischke.

An anonymous donor and the Purdue University Retirees Association each created new Purdue Opportunity Awards.

The award program, created by President Jischke in 2004, helps creates full scholarships for incoming students who have demonstrated financial need, personal hardship or other extenuating circumstances. The program combines private gifts with federal and state funding to provide a total financial aid package equal to a student's tuition, room and board for the first year at Purdue and currently pays up to $2,500 of their need in the second year. Every year, at least one student from each of Indiana's 92 counties is eligible for the award.

The Purdue University Retirees Association is raising funds to create at least one Purdue Opportunity Award scholarship that will bear its name. An anonymous donor who contributed $1.5 million in honor of the Jischkes, designated $500,000 of that to establish a new Purdue Opportunity Award scholarship in the Jischkes' names.  The rest of that donor's gift will support the Purdue Science Bound program and another needs-based scholarship.

Another scholarship program, the Patty Jischke Kids are the Future endowment, has been established with an initial $20,000 gift by Linda Rohrman, a Lafayette philanthropist and co-chair of the Community Campaign segment of the Campaign for Purdue. This endowment will provide scholarships to ensure that Purdue families with financial hardships can take advantage of the new 8,100-square-foot child-care center that is scheduled to open in summer 2008.

Four hundred fifty-two other donors have contributed $188,822 to date, bringing the total raised for these two scholarship programs to almost $1.709 million.

Jischke, the 10th president in the university's 138-year history, is retiring this summer after seven years as Purdue's president.

Writer:  Kim Medaris, (765) 494-6998,

Source:  Murray Blackwelder, vice president for advancement, (765) 496-2144,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke receives the university's Armstrong Medal from Neil Armstrong. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

A publication quality image of the Neil Armstrong Medal is available at

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