Donor Profiles

Our donors are absolutely critical to Purdue Engineerings present and future success. With donations large and small, these individuals, families and organizations have generously reaffirmed the importance of our mission. We invite you to learn more about some of the people who have made Purdue Engineering part of their philanthropy portfolio. We're proud to feature some of their personal histories and their reasons for giving.

Richard T. Hartzell

The Hartzell Engineering Scholarship is a renewable scholarship honoring Richard T. Hartzell (BSME '57), who died of cancer in 2006. It is awarded to at least one incoming engineering student who demonstrates excellence in engineering and related fields, shows community leadership, and possesses a broad range of interests.

The scholarship, which provides $5,000 to each recipient, was established with an initial gift of $500,000 from longtime friend Leonard G. Miller and augmented by contributions from Hartzell family and friends. It was created with the hope that recipients would follow Hartzells example, by not only becoming outstanding engineers, but also by utilizing their talents and abilities to better society.

A man equally at home on a tractor in the Virginia hills, managing 1,200 workers in Pontiac's experimental and testing department, presiding over a city council as Mayor of Orchard Lake, or spending time with his family, Richard T. Hartzell lived life fully and with passion. A man of faith with a strong moral compass, he was driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and an undying curiosity and passion for all that life holds. It is these qualities that the Richard T. Hartzell Engineering Scholarship seeks to nurture among future engineers. Dick, as he was known to friends and family, was born in Anderson, Indiana, in 1935, the second of three children. After graduating from Anderson High School in 1953, Dick began attending Purdue and immediately immersed himself in university life.

While at Purdue, Dick excelled in his studies, helped run his fraternity, served on the Student Union Board, belonged to the Society of Automotive Engineers and a variety of clubs, all while serving as an elder at the local Presbyterian church. He enjoyed every moment at Purdue and took full advantage of all the activities and opportunities that the university had to offer. After obtaining his MBA, Dick joined the Air Force in 1959 as a lieutenant and put his engineering skills to work studying maintenance procedures and drafting guidelines and training manuals for the fleet's upkeep. Upon being discharged, he joined Pontiac Motors full time in 1962 and after four years was appointed supervisor of 1,200 workers in the experimental and testing department. Dicks accomplishments were recognized by Nissan Motors USA, which hired him to become Vice President of Service in 1984. Nissans customer service rankings in J.D. Power climbed year after year under his stewardship.

Outside his profession, Dick's interests included antiques, art, farming, golf, hunting and fishing, sailing, scuba diving, real estate, tennis, opera, archeology, fine cuisine and a multitude of other subjects that intrigued his ever curious mind. First and foremost in his life was his family: his wife Ann and their four children; Tom, Bill, Bruce and Elizabeth and their many grandchildren. He took delight in their varied accomplishments and pleasure in their company as adults while also enjoying time with his grandchildren. A naturalist at heart, he could name all the trees of the woods, the bird songs he heard, and identify signs of other animal activity. His creative and entrepreneurial spirit drove him to explore many different fields and not accept limitations. Dick kept on learning, exploring and sharing his knowledge with others all his life. His longtime friend, Leonard Miller, expresses, "I hope the future recipients of the Hartzell Scholarship will recognize the achievements possible in life, and the path they follow will bring pride to the memory of my friend."

Robert Newcomb

Quiet, calm, and patient are words that define him, says Newcomb, who counts as his greatest accomplishment the guidance he has given to more than 70 doctoral students. "I let them choose what they want to do, and then I try to help them," he says. "I work with them as closely as I can."

Mentoring is one facet of his commitment to impart new knowledge to younger generations. "I feel the future of mankind rests upon engineering undertakings, and this future lies in the hands of those coming into the field."

Newcomb's years at Purdue were rich with mentors and experience. Raised in California, he braved Indiana's cold winters to study in the Midwest, making great use of the underground tunnels on campus to stay warm. "The Purdue education I had was certainly among the best at its time," he says. "All of my professors were good." Newcomb married during his last year at Purdue and received a special gift- "my graduation present was my daughter." He returned to California to complete his education, earning a master's at Stanford University in 1957 and a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. He taught three years at UC Berkeley and then a decade at Stanford, where he was tenured.

In 1970, Newcomb was recruited to guide the University of Maryland's graduate program in electrical engineering to world-class status. Achieving that is one of his greatest accomplishments, along with establishing a high school research program, conducting biomedical research, designing and fabricating the first micromotor, and developing the first applied mathematics program at Maryland.

He also established the campus Academy of American Poets prize, reflecting a personal interest and pastime of more than 50 years, piqued when he read The Iliad by Homer. "I feel the creative people in the world are the engineers, the poets, and the musicians," Newcomb says. While modest about his own poetic writing, he has included poetry from Shelley, Milton, and others in his engineering publications. Newcomb loves to travel and has lived many places, including Australia, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, and Belgium.

Charles Wallrodt

Having come to Purdue from Glen Ellyn, IL., Wallrodt understands the extra expenses out-of-state-students must bear. So when he decided to fund student scholarships, he insisted they go to students like he once was - an engineering undergraduate from Illinois.

Passionate about education, Wallrodt says, "... Knowledge is what's going to drive progress. To have knowledge, you have to have education, and to have education, you need institutions like Purdue University, and students need the ability to attend." Wallrodt was one of those kids destined to become an engineer. "I took apart all kinds of stuff to figure out how it worked. My interest was in technical things." That brought him to Purdue, a perfect fit. "We were just beginning to transition into some cutting-edge technology," he says. "We were moving from the old ways to the new transistors, and I took a class on that my senior year and loved it."

Armed with his bachelor's degree, Wallrodt headed for a career in the business world, signing on with Western Electric in 1963 and staying 36 years with that company and its successors. "I was with the Bell System and retired from Lucent Technologies," he says. Throughout the years he kept learning. "I took advantage of a lot of in-house training. I really enjoyed that. Knowledge is necessary to make progress. I do value education very much."

Wallrodt also served in the U.S. Army, with posts in Arizona and Saigon, Vietnam, where his unit was responsible for the militarys communications systems. Today still based in Glen Ellyn, Wallrodt has many interests. "I enjoy photography, traveling, electronic stuff, and lately Ive been doing lapidary work."