October 4, 2019

Engineering Alumni Board honors 3 alumni at annual gathering

The College of Engineering recently held its 2019 annual Dean’s Dinner and alumni awards presentation. ECE alumnus Elmore “Bill” W. Rice III (BSEE ’54) was one of three Purdue Engineering alumni honored at the event.

The College of Engineering held its 2019 annual Dean’s Dinner and alumni awards presentation at the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms Sept. 27.

Besides handing out three awards, its board announced that the organization had recently funded and established the Engineering Alumni Association Scholarship, entirely funded by alumni. Preference will be given to students who have a parent who is a Purdue alumnus/alumna.

Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering, addressed the guests and highlighted the College’s major accomplishments since he assumed his duties in 2017, including:

  • CoE ranked largest top 10 engineering college in the country by U.S. News & World Report
  • 50 percent increase in external research funding
  • More than 400 patent applications in 2019, a 40 percent increase
  • $1.025B raised in the Ever True Campaign, exceeding goal by 47 percent
  • Six new national research centers
  • 40 percent increase in Ph.D. fellowships
  • Approval of the Gateway Complex, the largest new facility on campus in recent years
  • 30 percent increase in annual giving
Recipients of the 2019 Engineering Alumni awards are (L-R): Stacey Burr, Engineering Innovation Award; Elmore “Bill” W. Rice III, Engineering Alumni Loyalty Award; Murugan Palaniappan, Young Engineering Alumnus Award; and Dean Mung Chiang.

The three award recipients honored were as follows:

Murugan Palaniappan (BSAAE ’10)
Young Engineering Alumnus Award

Based in Hong Kong, Palaniappan has been vice president of sales and marketing for the Asia Pacific Goshawk team, based in Hong Kong, since May 2019.  The aerospace leasing company, with headquarters in Berlin, also has locations in London, Miami, and Shanghai. Goshawk made news in July 2019 for delivering its first AIRBUS A321 Neo to Philippine Airlines. Before accepting his current position, Palaniappan worked in aircraft leasing for eight years, generating more than $800M in commercial leased aircraft deals in Asia. Before joining Goshawk, he served in origination roles with Avolon as vice president of its Singapore operations and CIT Aerospace, moving through the ranks of marketing analyst to assistant vice president. As a Purdue student, he participated in two challenging student design-build-test projects, one in microgravity fluid dynamics experiments and one in airborne Earth remote sensing. In August 2017, using his own funds, he traveled from Singapore to Purdue to participate in AAE’s annual Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) to share his insights gained from a successful career start. He and YPAC met with more than 100 students over the course of two evenings, answering questions about transitioning to the workplace and choosing senior design options in AAE.

Stacey Burr (BSIE ’84, MSIA ’91)
Engineering Innovation Award

Burr is vice president of Product Management for Wear OS – Google and Google Fit and is responsible for Google’s product, design, and engineering team in those areas. Prior to joining Google, she was vice president and general manager of Adidas Digital Sport, where she led the creation, development, and operations of Adidas wearable sports electronics, digital sport, and application experiences. Following a career at DuPont, Stacey founded and served as CEO of Textronics Inc., a pioneer in electro-textiles. Textronics led the commercialization of e-textiles with the first wearable sensor garments for fitness and health. In 2008, she sold the company to Adidas and currently serves as vice president for Adidas Wearable Sports Electronics. She is the co-inventor of 76 patented materials and process technology innovations in wearable electronics and co-chairs the annual WEAR conference, which brings together key players from across the smart fabrics, e-textiles, and wearable tech marketplace for networking opportunities, the latest updates on market dynamics, industry innovations, and more. She stays active in the fashion technology and consumer health venture start-up communities.

Elmore “Bill” W. Rice III (BSEE ’54)
Engineering Alumni Loyalty Award

Rice founded Ritron Inc., based in Carmel, Ind., in 1977, and although retired, remains the chairman and CEO. The company is the leading North American manufacturer of transceivers for locomotives and also designs and manufactures wireless voice and data communication products for business and industry, including portable and mobile two-way radios, vandal-resistant radio callboxes, base stations, and wireless mass notification systems. The company employs many Purdue graduates. Ownership of the company is shared with his four children, Sheryl, Karen, Susan, and Steve, who serves as president. Rice began his career at Hazeltine Corporation, where he was instrumental in developing the world’s first general aviation transponder. He then became chief engineer for Regency Electronics and was later founder and president of General Aviation Electronics (Genave). He also previously worked as an electronic countermeasures project engineer at the U.S. Naval Avionics Center in Indianapolis. Rice feels so passionately about his Purdue degree that he has promised to pay for all nine grandchildren’s Purdue educations through a PhD degree. Rice and his wife Shirley support an ECE scholarship and made a significant gift to the MSEE renovation project to fund a student design studio as part of ECE’s new “Hub.”