From the Dean: February 2019

Dear Purdue Engineering Community,

Starting this month, our College will be hosting a wide range of exciting events as part of Purdue's 150th Anniversary. Some of these will be "Ideas Festival" activities. A particular subset there is the "Engineering 2169" Series: How do we live/work/play 150 years from now. Each of the four days in Engineering 2169 consists of four components: (1) an anchor keynote, (2) a faculty panel discussion, (3) an ideas competition by graduate students, and (4) a graduate student poster reception. Component (4) is hosted by one or two large schools each time, but is open to all graduate students in the College. We hope to highlight the essential contributions by our graduate students as we look into the future during this special year.

As summarized in the poster, the Ideas Festival theme and our keynote speakers in Engineering 2169 are:

Feb 6: Sustainability
Keynote: Jorge Haddock, PhDIE'81, President of University of Puerto Rico
(Whole day's schedule)

Apr 5: AI
Keynote: Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist of Google

Apr 25: Space
Keynote: William Gerstenmaier, BSAAE’77, Associate Administrator of NASA

May 3: Health
Keynote: Jay Hess, Dean of IU School of Medicine

We also hope you will join us in other exciting events related to thought leadership in the world of engineering. For example, on March 6, James Hackett, CEO of Ford, will have a lunch fireside chat with President Daniels as part of the annual Purdue Road School, and Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, will deliver the annual Boeing Lecture in the afternoon. Of course, July 20 will be a special day with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. The latest information of events will be updated at:

During this and the next month, we will also proudly celebrate our minority and women students/faculty/staff/alumni. In particular,

Feb 6: When introducing the Keynote Speaker, Jorge Haddock, I will discuss the College’s effort to raise graduate fellowships for Hispanic students in the US and international students from Latin America.

Feb 26: Lyles School of Civil Engineering will celebrate the legacy of David Robert Lewis BSCE’1894, the first African American graduate of Purdue Engineering, followed by a recognition of the founding of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at Purdue Engineering in 1975.

March 23: Women in Engineering Program will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and the legacy of Martha Dick Stevens BSCE’1897, the first female engineer from Purdue (again, in the same century as the founding of the University), Amelia Earhart, and Lillian Gilbreth.

The responsibility and opportunity continue well into this century. For example, we can examine the graduation rates (which count those who graduate with engineering degrees and not those who switch outside of the College).

Thanks to the dedicated and creative work by Minority Engineering Program's team and partners, we are excited to announce that the 5-year graduation rate for minority students at Purdue Engineering has now not only matched the overall rate (67.1%), but exceeded it (at 68.4%), for the first time ever. This milestone is in addition to the continued trend of rising (overall) graduate rate and of women students' graduation rate being essentially the same as the overall rate.

Furthermore, we are humbled to have the opportunity to educate many first-generation students, with over 1000 such Boilermaker Engineers in our College today. As part of a land-grant university and as a College aspiring to the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale, we bear a special responsibility to seal the “leaky pipeline” for these students in the coming years too.

All of us in Purdue Engineering need to continue our work to strengthen the twin-pillars of Access and Success for all.


Mung Chiang
John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering
Purdue University

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