Cures returning the favor
Appreciative couple continues to give back
A Purdue education is a gift. Every Boilermaker should give back if they can. So says Jim Cure (BSCE ’75), a second-generation Purdue graduate who built a career as a construction industry executive and consultant in the Portland, Oregon, area. Over the years, Jim and his wife, Carol, have committed more than $5.25 million to the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.
Their gifts led to the creation of a named civil engineering professorship and the establishment of the Civil Engineering Advisory Council Scholarship, while also helping to fund recent renovations at Delon and Elizabeth Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering.
“A Purdue education is a gift, and we need to celebrate and support that,” says Cure, who is president emeritus of Advanced Technology Group, a partner at Curetech LLC and a former vice president at Fullman Co.
“My feeling is that my education at Purdue gave me the tools to be successful in my career. My Purdue degree gave me immediate credibility in the industry,” he says. “I wanted to give back, and I feel blessed to be in a position to do that.”
Attracting the very best
In 2015, the Cures, who have a history of giving to Purdue and faith-based causes, contributed $4.5 million to create their named professorship and the advisory council scholarship. In both instances, the Cures' reason for giving was simple: To attract the best and the brightest — faculty and students — to the West Lafayette campus.
The endowment establishing the professorship also provides funds to support civil engineering graduate students, which is another high priority across the College of Engineering.
“I felt the professorship was something Purdue needed as it continued to build on its strong reputation. Getting top professors is the best way to do that,” says Cure, a recipient of Purdue’s Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award and College of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Alumni/Alumnae Award.
“Providing seed money for the advisory council scholarship, and doing it in the council’s name, was a great opportunity to establish a prestigious scholarship and attract the very best students to civil engineering at Purdue for years to come,” he says.
In 2019, Jan Olek (PhD ’87), a Purdue professor since 1994, was named the James H. and Carol H. Cure Professor in Civil Engineering. The first Advisory Council Scholarship recipient is Sam Messinger, a freshman from Melville, New York. He began his first semester in fall 2019.
Jim Cure, chairman of the advisory council, and the other council members previewed finalists based on their needs, qualifications and accompanying essays.
“When the scholarship committee selected the top 10 candidates, most of them had not yet said yes to Purdue. The group specifically looked for aspiring students who did not have the funds to attend Purdue,” Cure says. “The committee recommended a student who probably wasn’t going to come to Purdue without the scholarship. Going through the process was a great joy. To know that we’re able to impact a specific individual’s life in a positive way was very rewarding.”
In many ways, the Cures’ various gifts aligned with the goals of Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University, which began in July 2012 and ran through June 2019. The priorities of Ever True, the largest fundraising
effort in Purdue history, included placing students first, building on the University’s strengths, and championing research and innovation.
“The Cures are driven by the desire to have far-reaching impact, which is in alignment with the School’s mission,” says Rao “G.S.” Govindaraju, the Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering and Christopher B. and
Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering.
“Whether they give for a professorship, a scholarship or facilities, it is from the same desire — to benefit students,” Govindaraju says. “What they’re doing now for our students will stick with them throughout their future careers.”
The Cures are also advocates of the annual Purdue Day of Giving, the University’s popular one-day fundraiser in April. On the 2019 Day of Giving, the Cures gave $750,000. Those funds supported renovations at Hampton Hall and the creation of a new laboratory, the Jim and Carol Cure Geomatics Teaching Lab.
Their contribution was part of a record-setting $41.6 million in funds raised for the University during the 2019 Purdue Day of Giving. The Cures’ 2015 gift also came on the Day of Giving.
“I think the Day of Giving campaign is fantastic, and I wanted to raise those numbers again,” says Cure, a Martinsville, Indiana, native. “I come from a long line of Purdue people, including my father and four of my siblings. We’ve been blessed to have a Purdue education. I think there are a lot of people who feel the same way I do about Purdue and the role it played in their success. We feel we owe Purdue something, and I think it’s important that we instill that in all our graduates going forward.”
ENJOYING LIFE: Jim Cure (BSCE '75) and his wife, Carol, who have given more than $5.25 million to Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering, in and around their home in the Portland, Oregon, area.