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Student Life Department Renamed to Honor Alumnus

Roger C. Stewart speaking with a student

In recognition of Roger C. Stewart, an alumnus who has dedicated decades of mentorship and support to Purdue students, the Leadership and Professional Development Initiative has been renamed the Roger C. Stewart Leadership and Professional Development Department (LPDD).

The naming of the department was approved by the Purdue University Board of Trustees at its meeting on October 1. The naming was officially dedicated at a reception in Krach Leadership Center on March 7. Colleagues were on hand to congratulate Stewart on the honor.

Stewart spent a 30-year career at Procter & Gamble Co., rising to vice president of global treasury. After retiring, he returned to Purdue and taught finance in the Krannert School of Management master’s program from for eight years, was director of the Krannert Graduate Development Center from 2009-11, served as director of both the graduate and undergraduate Krannert programs from 2011-13 and served as a student affairs specialist in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Through a significant donation, Stewart supports the director’s position of the department now named in his honor and the Leadership Experience at Purdue (LEAP), housed within the Office of Student Life. LPDD and LEAP promote student success by empowering undergraduates with the leadership skills they need to succeed in the classroom, workplace, community and world – which Stewart says should always be an area of focus at the University.

“In my opinion, one of the biggest crimes in the world is to waste talent,” says Stewart. “If we’ve got a student on campus who can do a small piece in solving world hunger or curing cancer and we don’t get that out of them, we’ve failed.”

Today, Stewart continues to support student success through career and professional mentorship. His leadership and influence have impacted students through the Krannert School of Management, Old Masters, Purdue Honors College Advisory Board, Iron Key, Mortar Board and more. Even in retirement, Stewart estimates that he spends 25-30 hours a week working with or on behalf of Purdue students.

“I want to be on campus,” Stewart says. “The energy that young people have is so invigorating.”

Roger C. Stewart standing in front of a sign with the new name of the department, the Roger C. Stewart Leadership and Professional Development Department

Stewart, in conjunction with the Center for Career Opportunities, helped lead the development of professional competencies as targets for student growth. Donations helped provide myStrengths, an online assessment to help determine where a student’s strengths lie, to students as a tool to begin developing these competencies. Since its inception, more than 35,000 Boilermakers have taken the assessment.

Stewart’s mentorship has made an impact on many Boilermakers, including Stephanie (Nitschmann) Martin, who earned a Master of Science in Human Resource Management in 2015.

“Roger has always made the time to provide a listening ear, share insight and coach one through life’s decisions,” Martin says.

“What I have come to admire most about Roger is his servant leadership, his willingness to act as an advocate for the Purdue student body and, above all, his endless generosity with his time.”

Learn more about the Roger C. Stewart Leadership and Professional Development Department by visiting its website.