sealPurdue News

October 17, 2002

Groundbreaking celebrates Dauch Alumni Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University benefactors and alumni on Saturday (10/19) will get their first glimpse of the university's plans for a new $16 million alumni center and its Spurgeon Hall of Spirit, featuring Purdue's achievements via interactive kiosks and museum-quality exhibits.

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In recognition of a $3 million gift from Richard E. and Sandy Dauch, as well as the gifts from other donors, the President's Council will conduct a ceremonial groundbreaking at 9 a.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union. The 67,000-square-foot Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center – funded solely by private sources – is under construction at the southwest corner of Grant and Wood streets. Completion expected in late 2003 or early 2004.

Guests who attend the event, during the President's Council pregame breakfast, will have the opportunity to view the architectural renderings of the new center. During the halftime program of the Purdue-Michigan football game, Purdue President Martin C. Jischke and Larry Preo, executive director of the Purdue Alumni Association, will present the Dauchs with the university's Distinguished Pinnacle Award in recognition of their generosity.

The Spurgeon Hall of Spirit, on the first floor of the center, is funded by a $1 million gift from alumnus Tom Spurgeon of Peoria Heights, Ill. It will display state-of-the art, changeable showcases featuring photographs, memorabilia and other objects that highlight some of the university's accomplishments and feature distinguished alumni. Some of the planned exhibits include tributes to the Purdue astronauts, Amelia Earhart, Purdue's athletic heroes and faculty members.

"We are so grateful to the Dauchs for their generosity and support of Purdue's first alumni center," said Carolyn Gery, associate vice-president for development. "We not only thank the Dauchs for their leadership, but also Tom Spurgeon and the many others contributors who have helped make our dream a reality. We are especially excited for the opportunity to unveil Purdue's first-ever Spurgeon Hall of Spirit, which will be a new gathering place and source of inspiration to those who visit the center."

The new center also will double the alumni association's office space and provide access to shared conference and meeting rooms. The center will consolidate and centralize Purdue's fund-raising activities and is expected to become a destination and gathering area for the Purdue Alumni Association's 68,000 members and the more than 325,000 living Purdue alumni.

"This alumni center is going to be a new destination for alumni — a ‘wow’ facility — where alumni will want to come and enjoy time together," Preo said.

Richard Dauch, an alumnus and former Boilermaker football player, and his wife, Sandy, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., are longtime Purdue benefactors. They have given the university more than $9 million in support for various projects in recent years.

Richard Dauch is co-founder, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. in Detroit. He earned his bachelor of science in industrial management in 1964 and received an honorary doctorate in management from Purdue in 1999. He was a fullback and linebacker on the Boilermaker football team from 1961-63.

Sandy Dauch was born and raised in Ohio and came to Purdue with her husband shortly after their marriage in 1960. She is active as a school and community volunteer and as a supporter of Purdue athletics.

"Sandy and I love Purdue, and we believe in its vision and future," Dauch said. "This university has meant so much to our lives and the lives of our family members, which includes five additional Purdue graduates — twin daughters, our daughter-in-law and two sons-in-law.

"We also have 14 grandchildren. We hope at least some of them will carry on the family tradition at Purdue. We are glad to be in a position to share our blessings and bring together the people who make Purdue great to build a center that will honor past success and inspire future accomplishments."

In 1998, the Dauchs, along with their sons, Richard F. and David, and daughters, Teri Gigot and Jane Harve, pledged $5 million over five years to the Krannert School of Management. The family also has committed $1 million over five years to support Purdue athletics. Krannert's Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises was named in recognition of the family's contribution.

Spurgeon graduated from Purdue in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in industrial management. An entrepreneur who has built companies throughout the United States, he most recently was president and CEO of Lincoln Office in Peoria, Ill. He has served on the executive committee of the Purdue Alumni Association Board of Directors and chairs its Strategic Planning Task Force.

Spurgeon also is the lead donor for the $1.8 million Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center to be built at Purdue's Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.

Writer: Jesica E. Webb, (765) 494-2079,

Sources: Carolyn Gery, (765) 494-6902;

Carrie L.P. Gray, director of corporate relations, (313) 974-2598,

Artist's rendering of the exterior of the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center. The new facility will be located at the southwest corner of Grant and Wood streets. (Illustration courtesty of the Purdue University Development Office)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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