Section Elevating Student Experience
It started as a joke.
Adam Potrzebowski (BSME ’15) was at lunch with his sister, Erin (BSME ’09), a few other Mechanical Engineering alumni and a representative from the College of Engineering’s development office when he asked, tongue firmly in cheek, “How expensive would it be to name the school after me?”
The answer was “more than a recent graduate could afford” — but when the conversation turned toward the cost of endowing a scholarship, things got serious.
“They said we only needed an endowment of $25,000,” Adam says. “Erin and I immediately looked at one another and said, ‘That’s not bad,’ especially when we found out we could split the cost two ways and we would have five years to contribute.”
Accelerating the time frame
Making the decision easier for Adam and Erin, both of whom work for Chevron Corp., was the opportunity to take advantage of a 1-to-1 match through Chevron Humankind, the company’s charitable giving program.
“Chevron encourages us to contribute to the community. I had been donating to Purdue already, but it never occurred to me a scholarship would be eligible for the match,” Erin says. “I also assumed an endowment required you to donate a lump sum. Making contributions through payroll deduction let us establish the scholarship now instead of waiting until later.”
Thanks to those payroll deductions, plus additional contributions made during the Purdue Day of Giving, the first Potrzebowski Family Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering will be awarded in the 2018-19 academic year.
“The School of Mechanical Engineering gives out so many of these donor-funded scholarships, and Adam and I both benefited from those when we were in school,” Erin says. “It’s nice to have some extra money for books and expenses. School is a lot easier when you’re not worried about how to pay for it.”
Starting young, planning for perpetuity
Adam and Erin say their experiences at Purdue — in the classroom and through various co-ops and internships — made it easy to land good jobs and feel financially secure so soon after graduation. They are not alone: The average starting salary for a Purdue mechanical engineering graduate is $62,838.
“Purdue set us up so that we have the financial ability to donate,” Erin says.
And they plan to keep contributing in the hopes of growing the Potrzebowski Family Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering.
“One of the great things about starting young is if we continue to contribute, it could grow to two or three or however many recipients we are able to financially support,” Adam says. “It’s a pretty cool legacy to say there will be a scholarship given under our family name in perpetuity.”
Banner Photo Caption
Erin and Adam Potrzebowski
Investments in Infrastructure
Expansions and improvements to teaching and learning spaces, laboratories, offices
Elevating Student Experience
Scholarships, student opportunities, diversity programs, student clubs
Dedicated to the Cause
Fundraising, event hosting, activity planning, advisory boards, networking with alumni
Laboratory infrastructure and equipment, project startup funds, graduate student support
Administrative funds, student travel and networking, unexpected opportunities
Rewarding, retaining, recruiting faculty and promoting diversity in engineering