November 2003 Newsletter

In this issue:


In earlier issues of this e-letter, I’ve written about the development of Purdue Engineering’s strategic plan and the accompanying development of “signature areas” for the Schools of Engineering. These multidisciplinary areas of excellence give us the opportunity to address national priorities to establish international leadership in education and research over the next five years.

As a university, we know we’re at our best when we’re seeking input from the widest range of perspectives. Through the signature areas, researchers within the Schools of Engineering are stepping outside their comfort zones to work with experts across campus and industry. These areas—eight in all—include Global Sustainable Industrial Systems; Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; System of Systems; Information, Communications, and Perception Technologies; Renewable Energy and Power; Intelligent Infrastructure Systems; Nanophotonics; and Tissue and Cellular Engineering.

In this issue, we’ll begin a monthly column that introduces you to each of the signature areas in turn, starting with Global Sustainable Industrial Systems. I hope that you’ll become excited, as we are, about the impact that Purdue Engineering will have as we move forward with these key strategic endeavors.

Also in this issue we note a number of exciting developments related to our capital campaign (see “Bowen Lab Dedicated October 3” and “Major Gifts Announced”). Your investment in Purdue engineering makes a difference, and these kinds of developments show it.

Lastly, we note the recipients of the Engineering Alumni Association Service Awards—committed and loyal alumni who have worked hard and effectively in support of Purdue Engineering. Our alumni provide the crucial edge we need in order to succeed, and we continue to be profoundly grateful for your interest, your engagement, and your support.

Linda P.B. Katehi

Signature Area Feature
Global Sustainable Industrial Systems


Our Global Sustainable Industrial Systems (GSIS) signature area looks at the ecological impact of everything that keeps industrialized nations running. We know that the use of fossil energy, the production of food, the acquisition of raw materials, and the human transformation of about 25 percent of the earth’s land surface have global consequences. By developing eco-friendly products, assessing and monitoring their environmental impact, and getting businesses to consider global ecological consequences, Purdue Engineering expects the GSIS signature area to contribute to a secure and prosperous future. GSIS encompasses three sub-areas:

  • Sustainable Product Design and Manufacturing Systems, which has its base in the Sustainable Systems Engineering Laboratory. This multidisciplinary team’s research may significantly increase plastics-to-plastics recycling.
  • Ecosystems Monitoring, Modeling, and Assessment (EMMA), which integrates ideas from the subarea above with engineered environments and managed ecosystems. The monitoring, assessment, modeling, and management are tasks fraught with considerable uncertainty and significant difficulties. EMMA adds a new set of constraints to engineering design, development, and processes.
  • Policy Architecture and Financial Engineering, which provides a critical link between the institutional control of governments and economic markets and the desired outcome of ecological sustainability.

We have existing, significant GSIS expertise and momentum across industrial engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and agricultural and biological engineering, and a large interdisciplinary group of faculty with expertise in ecological science and engineering spans engineering and the natural and social sciences. We will be seeking new faculty to build the area further.

Bowen Lab Dedicated October 3


We were delighted on Homecoming weekend to celebrate the formal dedication of the Robert L. and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research. The Bowens donated $ 3.25 million toward the new $ 11 million, 50,000+-square-foot facility, which was built with private funding from about 50 donors. (Alumnus Bob Bowen received a civil engineering degree from Purdue in 1962.) The new lab—which will draw top faculty and students from around the country—is a premier facility for research including the following:

  • The design and analysis of earthquake-resistant structures
  • The design of secure structures and civil infrastructure
  • The analysis of the fire- and blast-resistance of structures and materials
  • Structural-health monitoring
  • Multiple applications of new sensor and nanotechnologies to provide “intelligent structural systems”

Major Gifts Announced

We’ve been fortunate in the Schools of Engineering to receive a number of major gifts from alumni and friends over the past several weeks.

  • On September 26, Purdue announced $ 7 million from Roger B. Gatewood (BSME ’68) for the School of Mechanical Engineering, $ 5 million from Patrick Wang (BSEE ’72, MSEE ’72) for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, $ 2.5 million from Donald W. (BSME ’56) and Catherine C. Feddersen for the School of Mechanical Engineering, and $ 2 million from William B. (BSEE ’75, MSEE ’76) and Mary Jane Elmore for the William and Mary Jane Elmore Advanced Wireless Concept Validation Laboratory in the Birck Nanotechnology Center.
  • A September 30 announcement featured major gifts to the Schools of Engineering by John (BSME ’65) and Nancy Bratt ($ 1,000,000), Robert (BSME ’35) and Catherine Romano-Orth ($ 1,000,000), and Herbert A. (BSME ’51) and Janice A. Wilson ($ 500,000), which will be used by the School of Mechanical Engineering for such purposes as endowed professorships and facilities expansion and renovation. The late Stanley Welch (BSEE ’42) and his surviving spouse, Rosella Welch, pledged a deferred gift in support of scholarships for students in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • At an October 4 celebration attended by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Mark Brown, Purdue announced a lead gift of $ 1 million by Kenneth Johnson (BSAE ’50) for the $ 46 million Millennium Building, bringing the amount of privately raised funds to $ 6.5 million out of a total of $ 10 million required.

EAA Service Awards Honor Five Exceptional Alumni

The Engineering Alumni Association (EAA) bestowed its 2003 Service Awards at an October 5 ceremony honoring five Boilermakers who have provided exceptional service and loyalty to Purdue engineering, the university, the engineering profession, and the community. Michael J. Birck (BSEE ’60, MSEE ’62) and William K. Cordier (BSME ’49) received the President’s Lifetime Award. John A. Bratt (BSME ’65), Donald E. Knebel (BSEE ’68), and Adel A. Zakaria (MSIE ’70, PhD ’73) received the Service Award.


November 22  

ECE Scholarship Banquet in conjunction with HKN banquet
University Inn. For more information, contact Deborah Starewich at 765-494-3441.

December 13  

Boilermaker Blockbuster
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will be playing in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. There will be a Purdue Fan Fest from 2 to 5 p.m. in the fieldhouse lobby. For ticket information, contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 800-497-7678..

December 21  

Senior Send-Off
Immediately following graduation, the Schools of Engineering will host a reception for all engineering graduates, their families, and the engineering faculty in the North Ballroom, Purdue Memorial Union.

January 1, 2004  

Bowl Game
Engineering reception: time and location to be announced.

Contact Us

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