Strike the Right Match
Last year, Purdue launched the Faculty Excellence Challenge Match initiative, committing $7.25 million in University funds to endow new professorships.
College of Engineering donors took advantage of the opportunity, which matched gifts 1:1 from $750,000 to $1 million. Engineering alumni provided nearly half of the 12 gifts made to the program.
"These generous gifts from our accomplished alums are especially critical as the college embarks on a bold plan for strategic growth," says Dean Leah H. Jamieson. "Named and distinguished professorships help us recruit, reward and retain the very best educators and researchers."
Engineering donors, including Jerry and Sally Skidmore, Geoff and Kelly Crowley, and Milton Hollander, provided challenge-match gifts. Their generosity will support transformational change by helping to meet the colleges strategic goal to increase the engineering faculty by as much as 30 percent over the next five years.
Each alum contributed to the program because their experiences on campus motivated them to find new ways to enhance the educational and research contributions of Purdue professors.
Jerry and Sally Skidmore
Gift for: School of Chemical Engineering
Jerry Skidmore (BSChE '54) vividly remembers how his Purdue education helped prepare him for his career. For Skidmore, those moments came inside and outside the classroom.
Skidmore, a recipient of the Outstanding Chemical Engineer Award in 2011, says his engineering studies prepared him technically, and his activities on campus prepared him to work with people. He served four years with the Purdue Student Union, including service as a member of the Junior Board and as executive on the Senior Board. In these positions, he interacted with student organizations as well as the deans and administrative leaders. These experiences led to his election to Iron Key, a senior honorary society whose membership is kept secret during the academic year, allowing students to serve the University community without receiving recognition for their work.
Skidmore appreciated the chance to give back to the University while still a student.
"I will always be grateful to Purdue for the fine education and wonderful campus experiences," he says. "The opportunities available to me allowed not only a wonderful professional and technical education but the chance to develop many of the skills necessary to succeed in the business world."
Jerry and his wife, Sally, saw the challenge match as a new opportunity to contribute to the strength of the University by helping Purdue attract top-notch faculty to educate students and conduct field-defining research.
From his service as a student leader to his work as the founder and CEO of Skidmore Sales and Distributing Co., one of the largest distributors of industrial food ingredients, Skidmore learned the importance of leadership with a forward-leaning vision and a listening ear.
The School of Chemical Engineering's leadership gives him confidence that challenge-match contributions will attract outstanding faculty who will educate students in perpetuity.
"We are impressed with Professor Arvind Varma's leadership, and we wanted to support his efforts," he says.
Geoff and Kelly Crowley
Gift for: School of Engineering Education
Growing up, Geoff Crowley (BSIDE '74) spent his free time riding his bike five miles to the local airport to watch planes take off and land. Now, he has the kind of job he dreamed about as a kid.
Crowley, named a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus in 2010, is president of Northshore Leasing LLC and made significant contributions to the aviation industry as CEO of Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. Crowley and his partners acquired Air Wisconsin in 1993 and in fewer than 10 years grew the company from 600 to more than 3,500 employees and expanded its route system throughout the United States and Canada.
A Purdue education gave him the tools necessary to take his childhood ambitions and turn them into reality. He completed interdisciplinary engineering studies (IDE) in the early years of the program at Purdue, and its approach to engineering helped prepare him for a career in the aviation industry.
In most projects, he says, there aren't distinct lines separating engineering disciplines. IDE's approach helps a student work at the intersection of these fields. Interdisciplinary engineering prepared him for positions from a summer job working on the design of an airport master plan to the management of an $800 million airline.
Geoff and his wife, Kelly, believe investing in the School of Engineering Education's faculty will help professors equip the next generation of students. They appreciate the school's efforts to inspire students to become interested in engineering as a career, including its outreach to high school students, an initiative that supports the college's strategic growth and the national call to address America's engineering shortage.
"The School of Engineering Education is an exceptional opportunity to make a significant contribution to incoming engineering students and have a significant impact on how we educate our future engineers nationwide," Crowley says. "It is an incredible program, and we are happy to create an opportunity for an individual to make a difference."
Milton B. Hollander
Gift for: School of Mechanical Engineering
Milton B. Hollander (BSME '51, HDR '09) donated to the challenge match to continue the philanthropic work of his wife, Betty Ruth, who passed away in 2011.
The Hollanders met in high school, corresponding after graduation while Milton was deployed in Korea. His letters included his desire to attend Purdue University and he applied and was accepted while still overseas. As undergrads, the couple continued their correspondence and fell in love as their letters closed the distance between Purdue and Betty Ruth's college in New Jersey.
After the Hollanders married, Betty Ruth helped Milton reach career success while also achieving her own. During his graduate studies, she created thermocouples for his research, which led to the formation of her company, Omega Engineering Inc. Betty Ruth developed Omega into one of the world's leading manufacturers of process measurement and control instrumentation. Over the course of her career, she received many professional accolades, including four honorary doctorates.
Milton, who received the Purdue Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 1972, the Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Award in 1991, and a Purdue Honorary Doctorate in 2009, holds more than 200 patents worldwide. He is currently CEO of River Bend Science and Technology Park. River Bend offers research and development centers and high-tech manufacturing facilities powered by the region's most advanced green technology. As Betty Ruth and Milton progressed in their careers, they made it a priority to express their appreciation for the opportunities created by Purdue. Their philanthropic contributions to the University include the atrium of the Roger B. Gatewood Wing, which Betty Ruth donated in Milton's honor.
In her later years, Milton says, Betty Ruth spoke about her desire to fund a professorship at Purdue. He hopes the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professorship in Mechanical Engineering will encourage students to realize the opportunities available in the field of mechanical engineering.
"Betty and I talked about how the most vital aspect of engineering is to create something of value," Milton says. "Mechanical engineering looks to build and improve things, and is essential to the growth of society and humanity. We wanted to make sure the very best professors continue to be recruited and retained for the benefit of Purdue's Mechanical Engineering students."
The Skidmores, the Crowleys and Milton Hollander have contributed to the University's strength through named and distinguished professorships. The College of Engineering also received gifts from anonymous donors to the School of Chemical Engineering and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Whether gifts are private or publicly recognized, the University appreciates the benefits they extend in perpetuity to students and faculty.
The generous gifts to the Faculty Excellence Challenge Match carry on the life lessons these alums learned both in and out of the classroom by creating new professorships for academic leaders who will offer Purdue students the very best in education and research.