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The Purdue Impact of the Tompkins Family

Photo of Dr. Jim Tompkins
Dr. Jim Tompkins
Dr. James A. Tompkins (BSIE 1969, MSIE 1970, PhD 1972) created the Tompkins Professorship because he wanted to give something tangible back to the Purdue School of Industrial Engineering.

As an Industrial Engineering alumnus, Jim has had a great impact on his alma mater – he currently serves on the Industrial Engineering Advisory Council and the College of Engineering Advisory Council. In support of the IE Faculty, he and his wife Shari created the Tompkins Rising Star Professorship and most recently the Tompkins Professorship of Systems. Their continuous support for IE students, with scholarships and the naming of the Tompkins Learning Center during the 2015 "Grissom Hall Reinvention", will forever keep their Purdue Industrial Engineering legacy strong.  

When asked about creating this new Professorship, Tompkins said, “IE is the study of systems, we understand systems better than anyone else, and that is why it is named the Tompkins Professor of Systems."

The Tompkins Family supports many different areas on campus and their impact on the School of Industrial Engineering surpasses 4 decades. Their giving has supported groundbreaking research by IE professors and resulted in awarding scholarships to numerous students.

Abhi Deshmukh, James J. Solberg Head and the inaugural Tompkins Professor of Systems, said, “We so appreciate Jim and Shari’s generosity to the School of Industrial Engineering. It is an incredible honor for me to be carry the title with the name of someone I respect, admire and look-up to as a role model. Thank you, Dr. Tompkins!” 

"We are grateful to Dr. Tompkins for this visionary gift and for his many incredible contributions to the world of industrial engineering," said Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. "Dr. Deshmukh is an outstanding scholar, teacher and leader. His innovative ideas in systems will continue to have deep impact."

"When you think about The School of Industrial Engineering, you think about Jim and Shari Tompkins," said Alyssa Wilcox, Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement, College of Engineering. "Having three degrees from IE it says a lot about Jim and his dedication and loyalty to Purdue. He’s always a Boilermaker we can count on and we are forever grateful for his and Shari's longstanding support."

 “I don’t think I’ve given anything to Purdue, Purdue gave to me," said Tompkins.

Dr. Tompkins will give the Barash Distinguished Lecture “The Three Megatrends Impacting the Past, Present and Future of Commerce”, on Thursday, October 31 at 4:30pm in  the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, Room 1018. 

Tompkins is the founder and CEO of Tompkins International and an international authority on supply chain strategy, focusing on implementation of end-to-end supply chains that are demand driven. To share his knowledge and provide up-to-date information on supply chain and business trends, he developed the Creating Supply Chain Excellence Blog and Global Supply Chain Podcast. He has written or contributed to more than 30 books, including Caught Between the Tiger and the Dragon, Bold Leadership, Logistics and Manufacturing Outsourcing, The Supply Chain Handbook, No Boundaries and Facilities Planning. He has served as President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Materials Management Society, and the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education, and Purdue has named him an Outstanding Industrial Engineer (1997) and a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus (1999). He has also received more than 50 awards for his service to his profession. Dr. Tompkins received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1969, his Master of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1970 and his PhD in 1972, all from Purdue University.