Alumni Weekend: A return to campus to celebrate the Engineering Boilermaker family

Every fall semester, Purdue Engineering Alumni Weekend has been a chance to catch up and see longtime friends. However, this one was very special, as it was the first occasion in at least 18 months that many Boilermakers were able to get together and visit one another in person on campus.

Photo of Engineering awardees party

We welcomed back many proud Purdue alums, including the Engineering Advisory Council (EAC), and the Engineering Alumni Association (EAA) board, both of which consist of loyal, dedicated Boilermakers who help to serve the Dean of the College and Purdue Engineering by volunteering, giving, mentoring, teaching, and hiring our students, as well as helping us to network with other alumni.

During the weekends events, we also honored new members of the EAC: Rick Echevarria (IE), Vice President " Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager " Olympics Program Office at Intel Corporation; Ersal Ozdemir (CE), President and CEO of Keystone Construction and Keystone Realty Group; and Gary Duncanson (EE), former President and Chief Executive Officer at No Magic; Keyvan Esfarjani (IE), Senior Vice President and General Manager, Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations.

In his opening remarks on Friday evening, Dean Chiang congratulated the 2021 DEAs in attendance, as there had not been an in-person event on campus in the spring: Sue Ellspermann (IE), President of Ivy Tech Community College, and Joe Alford (ChE), Engineering Advisor, Eli Lilly and Company (retired).

Awardees Honored at Engineering Celebration

The 2021 Engineering Dinner and Alumni Awards was held on Sept. 24 and honored four alumni who exemplify the Pinnacle of Excellence in their careers. The event was held as part of the College of Engineering Alumni Weekend.

William B. Elmore

William B. Elmore (BSEE ’75, MSEE ’76)

The Crystal Train Award

Bill Elmore is a transformational leader who co-founded Foundation Capital, a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, Calif. Foundation Capital companies include Netflix, Lending Club, SunRun and Chegg. Now an emeritus partner at the firm, he continues to invest full-time in promising technology startups.

In August 2021, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering was renamed the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in recognition of a $25 million gift.

Sirisha Bandla

Sirisha Bandla (BSAAE '11)

Young Alumni Award

Sirisha Bandla became the 26th Purdue alumni in the Cradle of Astronauts with her suborbital flight on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity on July 11.

Virgin Galactic’s vice president for government affairs and research operations, Bandla was one of four mission specialists on the flight, the first fully crewed for Virgin Galactic. Her role was to evaluate the researcher experience.

Michael Schrader

Michael Schrader (BSME ’04)

Innovation Award

Michael Schrader attended Purdue to work in the automotive field. But he soon found himself as CEO of a new medical startup company, Vaxess Technologies, developing a medicine-delivery patch that only needs to be worn for 5 minutes to deliver a full dose.

Charles Miller

Charles Miller (BSCE ’57)

Loyalty Award

Charles Miller retired in 2001 as president of Diamond Construction Co., a road construction company specializing in asphalt paving. Miller used his degree in civil engineering to take over the business his late father had started in 1946. His son and grandson also earned Purdue civil engineering degrees—the only living three-generation Purdue civil engineers.

Bill Elmore

Dimitri Peroulis, Michael and Katherine Birck Head of the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Reilly Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Bill Elmore; Dean Chiang
Engineering Ambassadors

Sirisha Bandla receives the Young Alumni Award from Dean Chiang.

Dean Chiang with Nancy Witt