Endowment creates distinguished fellow position in CEM

Author: Barbara Leonard
As a renowned and distinguished member of the construction engineering and management field, alumnus Donn Hancher knows the value of bringing top-quality knowledge and research ability into the classroom.

This distinguished alumnus is being honored by colleagues in the construction industry and academic community through the creation of the Endowed Donn E. Hancher Distinguished Fellow within the Division of Construction Engineering and Management. Lead donors to the endowment include Purdue alumni Bob Bowen, PE (BSCE ’62, HDR ’07), chairman and CEO of Bowen Engineering; Anne Bigane Wilson, PE (BSCEM ’79, MSCE ’81), president of Bigane Paving Company; Cliff Schexnayder, PE (PhD CE ’80), professor emeritus at Arizona State University; and Jeffrey Russell, PE (MSCE ’86, PhD CE ’88), professor and chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Purdue’s construction program is the finest in the world,” says Bowen, chairman of the endowment committee, “and no one has had more of an impact on that program than Donn Hancher.”

The creation of the endowment was celebrated at a luncheon in Hancher’s honor on May 12.

The position of fellow will be held by an experienced construction industry leader and is designed to bring construction industry knowledge into the classroom. The designee will mentor students; support construction industry efforts to encourage members of underrepresented groups to consider construction as a profession; enhance student, faculty, and academic interaction with the construction industry; and mentor construction faculty for leadership at Purdue.

Recently retired, Hancher (BSCE ‘66, MSCE ‘68, PhD ‘72) had served as the Terrell-McDowell Chair of Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Kentucky since 1989. Prior to joining the Kentucky faculty, Hancher served as professor of civil engineering at Purdue from 1972 to 1988.

An active member of the American Road and Transportation Builder’s Association (ARTBA), he has been a leading researcher and teacher of construction engineering for more than 35 years.

With the creation of this endowed fellow position, its supporters will help to bring a world-renowned leader to Purdue, one who will be expected to assist in the teaching of construction courses, to counsel students, and to participate in and lead professional activities. The position will serve a five-year, renewable term, and will be selected by the dean of engineering based on recommendations of a committee composed of the head of the Division of Construction Engineering and Management or designee; a representative from the School of Civil Engineering appointed by the head of the school; a faculty representative in a related engineering area appointed by the dean; the president of the Indiana Construction Association; and the president of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association.

The Donn E. Hancher Distinguished Fellow will be chosen from leaders in the construction industry, those who are active and have held demonstrated leadership roles within the industry and within professional organizations. “The practitioner who is brought to campus through this fellow program will take Purdue’s construction engineering program to the next level of excellence and distinction,” says Bowen.

Hancher’s research areas of interest have ranged from construction management and administration, estimating and value engineering, planning and scheduling, construction equipment and methods, and total quality management. Over his career, he has been recognized with numerous awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Chi Epsilon Honorary Society, and from ARTBA.

Upon his recent retirement, Hancher has returned to West Lafayette.