Section Fueling Faculty
Rewarding, retaining, recruiting faculty and promoting diversity in engineering
When Paul Wattelet (PhD NE ’67) arrived at Purdue in the early 1960s, he found himself surrounded by the pioneers of nuclear engineering — including several individuals who had worked on the Manhattan Project. He was impressed by their qualifications, but even more so by their attitudes toward him, a recent graduate who was passionate about nuclear power.
“They were the nicest people I ever met in academia,” Wattelet says. “Their teaching was exceptional, and I was inspired by how encouraging they were of me and my research.”
At least four personal goals were met and one named professorship established when Ron and Dotty Tonjes gave back to their alma mater.
The Tonjeses, founders of the successful writing company ProWrite, always wanted to give back to Purdue. In fact, they already had Purdue in their wills.
However, a unique philanthropic opportunity arose when Bill Elmore (BSEE ’75, MSEE ’76) created a $1.5 million matching initiative for two named professorships. The couple recently decided to meet the match and gave $750,000 — which established the Ron and Dotty Garvin Tonjes Professorship in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.