Twice the Splash

Graduate Education Challenge Match supports research
Graduate students embody Purdue's mission of excellence in teaching, learning and research. The University's Graduate Education Challenge Match supported this mission through a commitment of $3 million in matching funds to establish graduate education endowments. Thirty-nine donors met the challenge, each doubling the impact of individual contributions of $50,000 or more.

Thirteen College of Engineering donors took advantage of the Challenge Match, and each has a unique story about what motivated their gift to the program. For some, it was because of the difference a Purdue graduate education made in their lives. For others, it was to promote new discoveries through graduate research and help prepare students for their professional careers.


Robert Ross
Gift for: School of Aeronautics and Astronautics

For the late Robert Ross (BSEE '61, MS '63), space exploration was a childhood dream. He and his father spent long evenings on the back porch tinkering with chemistry experiments and building rockets to launch.

"It's a wonder we never blew up the porch," Ross told his wife, Margaret.

Ross made those dreams a reality through a Purdue education. After graduation, he worked at NASA 's Goddard Space Flight Center, using his background in physics and engineering to develop new detectors to measure radiation in space. Throughout his career, he worked on projects for NASA that included the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) at the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES).

When Ross passed away last year, his wife and sons, Chris and John, established the Robert W. Ross Memorial Scholarship for Space Sciences. His family hopes that future Purdue students who study through the scholarship will pursue a career in space exploration.


Bruce and Dorothy Johnson
Gift for: School of Engineering Education

When Bruce Johnson (MSME '62, PhD '65) was a graduate student in mechanical engineering, he took a two-semester class taught in the Engineering Science Department by Professor A.C. Eringen that sparked his interest in interdisciplinary research.

"Every working day I still use what I learned in that amazing set of courses in all my teaching, writing and research efforts," he says.

Since then, he has conducted research in a diverse set of interdisciplinary fields that includes fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, naval architecture, ocean wave mechanics, time series analysis, brain wave analysis and engineering economic analysis.

Johnson, who serves as professor emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy, and his wife, Dorothy, took advantage of the Challenge Match to fund graduate education in the field of engineering education. Their gift will also support Purdue's annual Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium. The Johnsons hope the colloquium will develop into a Web-based resource to reach a global audience and promote interdisciplinary solutions to critical problems.


Mysore and Prema Dayananda
Gift for: School of Materials Engineering

Professor Mysore Dayananda (MSMSE '61, PhD '65) has been instrumental in the growth of the School of Materials Engineering since he came to Purdue more than 50 years ago.

Over the past five decades, he has made new discoveries in the field of multicomponent diffusion and mentored more than 50 MSE students through their MS and PhD programs.

Dayananda says he and his wife, Prema, provided a gift to the Challenge Match program because they want to contribute to the strength of the School of Materials Engineering and "help future graduate students to [pursue their course of] study without any constraints."


Mark and Pamela Lamp
Gift for: Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

When Mark Lamp (BSEE '81, MS '82) reflects on his time at Purdue, he says he benefited not only from the technical expertise he gained, but also from the interaction with his advisors.

Working with professors in the College of Engineering taught him "about how to interact with the health care community and apply technology, from developing a work ethic to being driven to excellence," Lamp says.

Now chief operating officer and executive vice president of AccentCare Inc., Lamp serves on the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board and returns to campus to consult with students, faculty and alumni, and share his experiences in industry.

He and his wife, Pamela (BA '81, Communication), say the Challenge Match provides a way to create opportunities for future BME students.

"We hope that the scholarship can be used to fund a student that would not have had the chance otherwise to learn the principles I learned in my graduate studies at Purdue," he says.


Bob and Susan Gadomski
Gift for: School of Chemical Engineering

When Bob (BSChE '69, MSIA '70, HDR '01) and Susan (BS '69 HSSE) contributed to the Challenge Match, they remembered back to their own graduate school experiences. Susan, now a retired speech pathologist, says her graduate studies were made possible by an endowed fellowship. Since then, they have been looking for a chance to give back.

Bob, the founder and managing director of Napowan Associates and the retired executive vice president of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., says they hope their gift helps continue to attract high-caliber students to the Chemical Engineering graduate program. To compete for the best students, it's key to have the right level of funding.

"Once graduate students come to Purdue, they find they can have a very robust education with the University's professors, research capabilities and contacts in industry, government and nongovernmental organizations," he says.


Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp
Gift for: School of Chemical Engineering

Duncan (PhD ChE '64) and Suzanne Mellichamp say Purdue "played a big role in our early lives together and prepared us well for successful careers."

They began their marriage more than 50 years ago as students at Purdue. Suzanne's classwork completed her BA preparation for a nearly 30-year career in education, teaching elementary and special education classes. Following their time in West Lafayette, Duncan worked with DuPont before joining the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB ) as a founding faculty member. Professor emeritus since 2003, he still teaches and researches pro bono.

Philanthropy is a priority for the Mellichamps, who support higher education, local arts and environmental nonprofits. The Challenge Match program gave them the opportunity to return to their personal and professional roots at Purdue and to double the impact of their contribution to graduate education. Their gift will support an annual lecture by a distinguished young chemical engineering researcher.

"Suzanne and I are happy to see a promising mid-career individual in this country recognized each year and brought to campus to share his or her success and motivation with Chemical Engineering graduate students and faculty," Duncan says.


Gary Poehlein
Gift for: School of Chemical Engineering

Gary Poehlein (BSChE '58, MS '63, PhD '66) and his late wife, Sharon, began their marriage during their years at Purdue, where she studied home economics.

Gary remembers the challenges of balancing a family with young children, the demands of graduate work and limited financial resources. To meet these needs, the School of Chemical Engineering arranged funding for Gary's PhD program.

The investment in his graduate education paid off, leading to research breakthroughs and professional success. Gary is now professor emeritus at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He shares his expertise in polymerization systems through annual seminars for international corporate representatives at Lehigh University and in Switzerland.

As he reflects on the possibilities created by his graduate education, Gary says he hopes the Poehlein Family Graduate Education Fund "will help those who might not be able to be graduate students without extra support."


Arindam Bose
Gift for: School of Chemical Engineering

Arindam Bose (PhD ChE '80) says his time at Purdue combined the best of academia with the best of applied research as practiced in industry. Now he is able to combine the two again by using both the Challenge Match and a matching contribution from his employer, Pfizer Worldwide R&D.

Bose, vice president of external affairs and strategy, biotherapeutics at Pfizer, says the active involvement of his professors in his graduate program helped prepare him for a career in industry. During his graduate research, his advisors encouraged him to become professionally engaged and attend conferences like the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Years later, his involvement with the organization came full circle when he served as the secretary-treasurer of the ACS' Biochemical Technology Division for 10 years during a period of unprecedented sixfold membership growth and continues to serve as ACS councilor to this day.

Bose thought the Challenge Match provided the chance to fill a funding gap "that would allow students to engage in professional development such as attending conferences or performing research with a collaborator from another institution."


Jim and Sylvia Ryland
Gift for: School of Chemical Engineering

Jim Ryland (BSChE '68, MS '78, PhD '81) and his wife, Sylvia (BS '68 Home Economics), also took advantage of matching funds offered by his employer, Johnson & Johnson.

The Ryland Family Graduate Education Endowment will honor a legacy of family alums, including Jim's sisters, Elizabeth Ryland Mears (BS Biology '66) and Nancy Ryland Lane (BSChE '84), and the Rylands' son, Robert (BSChE '93).

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Purdue, Jim, now the director of Large Molecule Development at Johnson & Johnson, called Professor Lowell Koppel, then head of the school.

He was looking to recruit an engineering student, but Koppel had other plans. He suggested that Jim continue his studies in the ChE graduate program. At first, the Rylands thought the expense of graduate education would make it infeasible, but Koppel suggested funding options that made Jim's studies possible.

Pursuing a Purdue graduate education changed the course of his career, and now the Rylands want to give back.

"We have a fond place in our hearts for Purdue," Jim says.


The 13 College of Engineering donors to the Graduate Education Challenge Match program also include retired Purdue senior research engineer Joe Bourland and his wife, Barb; Professor Essam Salah Radwan (MSCE '76, PhD '78); Russell Millar; Professor Amarendu P. (BSChE '51) and Danute F. Roy Choudhury. Each contributed to the strength of Engineering's graduate programs.

Every donor has a different story about the impact of a Purdue graduate education, but the stories have a common thread: their experiences helped prepare them for postgraduate success.

The Challenge Match offered an opportunity to return the gift and make an investment in the next generation of Purdue graduate students.