Spring 2008 Newsletter

Looking Forward to the Year Ahead

After completing its first full year, the new board looks ahead to 2008.

Dear Fellow Boilermaker,

After a relaxing holiday break, the spring semester is well under way here at Purdue.  This is a particularly exciting time for the Engineering Alumni Association (EAA) as we begin to implement plans for a promising new year.

I would first like to take a moment and apologize for the problems that occurred during distribution of the last newsletter. We have been taking the necessary actions to ensure that such problems are avoided in the future so that we may continue circulation of this newsletter which connects you, our valued alumni, to current news and events. We hope that by getting important information to you on a regular basis you may contribute to the ongoing evolution of our plans, get involved in their execution, and share our passion for a promising future.  

Technical problems aside, 2007 was an important and productive time for the EAA as the new board celebrated its first full year. To help us prioritize our goals and focus on the issues most relevant to our alumni, we developed a strategic plan that will guide the EAA over the next few years.  This plan will help us strengthen and stabilize alumni relations in local communities and with Purdue.    

Other highlights from last year included increased awareness of the EAA by participation in such events as the Indiana State Fair, Purdue Day at the Chicago Zoo, Senior Send-Off, and the Outstanding Senior Awards. Our board members also took the lead in organizing events in communities across the nation to unite our alumni. The board is also proud to have played a role in the development of the new online social networking community, Boilershpere. Boilersphere will play a key role in helping Purdue alums all over the world remain connected, reconnect, and network.

The upcoming year will be one of action guided by the Strategic Plan, and as a result there will be numerous opportunities for you to get involved in helping fulfill our new mission. I am looking forward to connecting with you to discuss how we can further strengthen this institution we care so much about. To receive more information on current opportunities for alumni involvement please contact me at gadewunm@ecn.purdue.edu or Missy Davies at daviesm@purdue.edu.

With your help, we look forward to taking the EAA to a new level this year.  


Gbile Adewunmi (BSEE ’02, MSEE ’03)
EAA Board President

Up Close: Alumni

EAA Board Member Profiles

Wendy Kerr (BSME ’O6) and David Henry (BSChE ’89)

Photo of Wendy

Wendy Kerr (BSME ’06)
Analytics Engineer
Johnson & Johnson
Cincinnati, Ohio

Hobbies: coaching soccer, playing sports, volunteering
Purdue activities as a student: Purdue Engineering Student Council, Mortar Board, Engineering 104 Mentor.
Purdue related activities: Wendy continues to support Purdue by serving on the EAA Board of Directors and assisting with the recruitment of potential Purdue students.

Photo of David David Henry (BSChE ’89)
Global Process Improve Manager
ExxonMobil Chemical Company
Houston, Texas

Hobbies: golf, biking, Purdue sports (Football season ticker holder)
Purdue activities as a student: Omega Chi Epsilon, avid sports fan.
Purdue-related activities: David is pleased to be able to give back to Purdue through service on the EAA Board of Directors, as well as through membership in the Purdue Club of Houston. David is past president of the Purdue Club of Baton Rouge.

News from the EAA Boardroom

In order to most efficiently serve the needs of all of Purdue’s engineering alumni, the EAA board has compiled a list of goals and objectives to guide their work in the next few years.

2008 Strategic Plan: Goals & Objectives

Goal 1: Creating a Connected Family


  1. We will foster an environment that encourages engineering alums to interact with one another both professionally and personally.
  2. We will keep recent graduates connected and reconnect graduates who may have lost touch with Purdue and/or other engineering alums.
  3. We will facilitate increased interaction between current engineering students and alumni.
  4. We will assist the College of Engineering in recruiting a greater number of women, underrepresented minorities, and high ability students to Purdue.
  5. We will recognize alumni.
  6. We will encourage and equip engineering alums to positively impact their local communities.

Goal 2: Serving as a nexus of information for engineering alums.


  1. We will increase the awareness of the EAA among our constituents (engineering alums, current students, prospective students).
  2. We will increase the knowledge of engineering alumni about changes in the College of Engineering and the impact of those changes.
  3. We will promote opportunities for giving.
  4. We will serve as a focal point for engineering alumni engagement.

Neil Armstrong Hall is New Home to Purdue Engineering

Purdue dedicated its Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering on Saturday, October 27, 2007 hailing the new $53.2 million building as a gateway to engineering research and education.

Dedication of new Armstrong Hall

Former Apollo astronauts Armstrong and Cernan during the dedication of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

Sixteen of Purdue’s astronaut alumni attended the dedication including Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, the first and most recent men to walk on the moon.

Video of the dedication ceremony is available on the Purdue web site.


Boilersphere Makes it Easy for Alumni to Reconnect

Launched January 28, Boilersphere is connecting alumni, faculty, & students

Boilersphere, a Web-based networking site exclusive to Purdue people, provides Purdue alumni an outlet for easier interactions. Users can connect with former friends and professors, post job openings for free, network with other Purdue graduates, and share experiences with current students interested in their fields. To register and become a member, go online to http://www.purdue.edu/boilersphere.

A Purdue help desk will be available to answer any questions or address any login problems at (765) 496-9770 or by e-mail at boilersphere@purdue.edu.

Recent Events

2008 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards Luncheon and Convocation

On February 22, 2008 the College of Engineering celebrated the accomplishments of six distinguished alumni. The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award is presented to engineering alumni who have distinguished themselves in professional and related fields of endeavor.

This year’s distinguished alumni are:

Photo of CaveMichael J. Cave
BSE ’82
Senior Vice President
Business Development and Strategy
The Boeing Company

Photo of GraffMichael J. Graff
MSChE ’79
President and CEO, Air Liquide USA
Chairman, Air Liquide Canada

Photo of GunnMoira A. Gunn
PhD ’74
Mechanical Engineering
Host, National Public Radio
“BioTech Nation” and “Tech Nation”

Photo of HaleyDebra L. Haley
Special Assistant to the Commander (ret.)
Aeronautical Systems Center
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Photo of HarrisAnthony Harris
BSME ’75
President and CEO
Campbell Security Equipment Company

Photo of PollockTresa M. Pollock
BSMetE ’84
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
University of Michigan


Current Events

National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 10:30 a.m.
Purdue Armory

Presidential Inauguration
Friday, April 11, 2008, 2:00 p.m.
Elliott Hall of Music

Class of 1958 50th Reunion
April 12 – 13, 2008

Spring Fest
April 12-13, 2008 10 am – 4 pm

EAA Board Meeting
Friday, April 18, 2008 8 am – 5 pm

Grand Prix
Saturday, April 19, 2008, 10 am - ?

Black & Gold Spring Football Game
Saturday, April 19, 2008, 12 pm

Students to Play Chef for a Day at Rube Goldberg Contest

How many ways are there to make a hamburger? Students will find out when they create complex machines to accomplish the simple task during the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

The 26th annual event will take place at 10:30 a.m. April 5 at the Purdue Armory.

Teams competing in this year’s national contest include the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers, Ferris State, Penn State, Michigan Technology University, University of Arizon, Texas A&M, and University of Texas.

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. The contest, sponsored by Phi Chapter of Theta Tau fraternity, is free and open to the public.  

Up Close: Students

Each year the Phi Chapter of Theta Tau, the Professional Engineering Fraternity, organizes and hosts the Rube Goldberg national contest. Here Ben Parsons, a junior in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Theta Tau’s regional contest chairman, answers some of our questions.

Photo of Parsons As Theta Tau’s regional contest chairman, what are your responsibilities?
My responsibilities include recruiting teams to travel and compete in the contest and organizing all of the volunteers that help make the contest possible.

What task will students be working on this year?

The teams have to assemble a hamburger with a minimum of one patty, two condiments, and two vegetables between two buns. This year’s idea was chosen to be less ridged than in the past and allow teams to be more creative. Teams can add as many condiments, vegetables, and patties as they like.

What are you most excited for in this year's competition?
This year Omega, a local sponsor, funded each team up to $1000 so I am expecting that the quality of machines will be very high.

What benefits have you personally gotten out of helping with this event?

I have seen teams work together to make some incredible machines and the joy of knowing I have helped make the competition possible for them.

If alumni want to get involved who should they contact?

They can contact me at bsparson@purdue.edu or the national contest chairmen at mmierzwa@purdue.edu, or nkissel@purdue.edu.

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Send your alumni news and thoughts on what you’d like to see in this e-newsletter to the Engineering Alumni Association at EAA@ecn.purdue.edu.