The Dean’s Message

Leah H. Jamieson
All of us in the Purdue Engineering family joined the world in sadness at the recent death of Neil Armstrong. With his loss we all recognized, again, what a profound inspiration he has been, and we gained a new appreciation for his lasting legacy.

Known for his humility, he always wanted to share with his colleagues the accolades he received for his achievements, but he never hesitated to show his pride in being an engineer. And I know that his pride paled in comparison to ours in being able to claim him as a Purdue engineer — one of our own.

As I told our students who organized a moving memorial around his statue outside Armstrong Hall, he rarely talked about himself. He did, however, love to talk about engineering.

Five years ago, at the dedication for Neil Armstrong Hall, he talked about his time at Purdue when he was learning how engineers strive to make things stronger, lighter, less expensive, more reliable, and less fuel-reliant. He tied that mission to optimism and pessimism — noting that some people see their glasses as half full, some half empty, but that an engineer wants to know why the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Most important, though, he talked about how engineering is about “what can be.” It is the best definition of engineering that I have ever heard — and Neil Armstrong, with his “giant leap,” gave us an unforgettable image of what can be.

With that in mind, as I share this edition of Imprints, I thank you for your unending support of “what can be” in Purdue Engineering.

Best regards,


Leah H. Jamieson
The John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering/
Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering