ECE Alumnus Gives Back - In A Big Way

A former electrical engineering student returned to Purdue in May to fund scholarships in his field. Charles Wallrodt (BSECE ‘63) of Glen Ellyn, Ill., contributed $5 million for electrical and computer engineering.

His gift, which will establish a scholarship for Illinois natives,  helps launch the university’s new $304 million Access and Success Campaign.

Following graduation, Wallrodt worked at Western Electric and remained with the company through several mergers, first with AT&T and later Lucent Technologies. He retired from Lucent after more than 36 years as a product manager.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Wallrodt served his country both stateside in Arizona and for one year in Saigon, Vietnam. His unit was responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of military communications systems in that country.

Wallrodt says the gift is both a testament to his time at Purdue and a helping hand for out-of-state students.

“We were just beginning to transition into some cutting-edge technology when I attended Purdue,” Wallrodt says. “We were moving from the old ways to the new transistors, and I took a class on that my senior year and loved it. Because I was an out-of-state student, I recognized that finances were a problem for some of my peers. There are plenty of people in Illinois who want to go to Purdue, and I am pleased that I am now in a position to help them over that financial hump so they can focus on the next new technology.”

The university has raised more than $42 million toward its Access and Success Campaign fundraising goal since July 1, 2007. Funds from a variety of donors have been designated for scholarships in colleges and schools across the university. President France A. Córdova says the donors share a common passion for the success and welfare of students.

“These donations showcase the ability of the friends and family of Purdue to come together to better meet the needs of our students,” Córdova says. “Thanks to their generosity, students in a variety of disciplines and from a broad spectrum of backgrounds will not only be able to attend Purdue, but also be able to graduate with fewer financial obligations. We are thankful for these gifts.”

–Tanya Brown