sealPurdue News

January 15, 2003

Purdue president to 'engage' Rensselaer in all-day visit

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University leaders are continuing a series of Purdue Days in Indiana with a visit to Rensselaer on Tuesday (1/21).

University President Martin C. Jischke (pronounced JIS-key) will be joined by Purdue faculty and administrators as he meets with area residents who have a variety of ties to the university. Local host for the visit will be Danita Rodibaugh, a Purdue alumna, family farmer, and agriculture industry leader who has four children who have graduated or are attending Purdue.

"We're excited about President Jischke's visit," Rodibaugh said. "It's our opportunity to showcase activities in Rensselaer and Jasper County. It is also an opportunity for President Jischke to further his engagement efforts in the state."

Joseph L. Bennett, Purdue's vice president for university relations who will accompany Jischke on the visit, said, "President Jischke has been a strong and consistent advocate of bringing Purdue to the state and the state to Purdue. Purdue is committed to being a force – in learning, discovery and engagement – in Indiana."

Jischke will be accompanied by Bennett, Dave McKinnis, director of the Technical Assistance Program, and Dale Whittaker, associate dean of the School of Agriculture.

Jischke, who came to Purdue in August 2000, is the university's 10th president. He previously served for nine years as president of Iowa State University, like Purdue, a land-grant institution. His experience in higher education also includes 17 years as professor and dean at the University of Oklahoma and five years at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

Jischke was the founding president of the Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture. He served as chairman and board member of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and as a board member of the American Council on Education, National Merit Scholarship Corporation and Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. He is on the boards of directors of the Association of American Universities and the American Council on Competitiveness.

After receiving his doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968, Jischke joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma's School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. During his 17 years at Oklahoma, he served in multiple capacities. He became director of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering in 1977. He served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1981 to 1986, and he was named the university's interim president in 1985.

Purdue Days in Indiana have taken Jischke to the Indianapolis State Fair in August, Vincennes in September, Logansport in October, Dearborn County in November and Marion County in December. Following the Rensselaer visit, Purdue Days will continue in Columbia City on Feb. 18, Scottsburg on March 28 and Anderson on April 24.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Source: Danita Rodibaugh, (765) 427-0683,

Joseph L. Bennett, (765) 494-2086,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of Purdue President Martin C. Jischke is available at Jischke will be available to speak with media at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners' Room, Jasper County Courthouse. There will be a photo opportunity at 1:15 p.m. at Jasper County Community Services where Jischke will be the honorary "First Book" reader. (All times local)


During the day, Jischke and his party will be at the following locations (all times local):

9 a.m. – Commissioners' Room, Jasper County Courthouse. Jischke will meet and make a short presentation to elected officials, community leaders and media. Local hosts are Richard Maxwell, commissioners president, and Rita Steele, Jasper County auditor.

10 a.m.– Sealy Components Group. The bedding-product maker has used Purdue's Technical Assistance Program, directed by McKinnis, to improve manufacturing productivity.

11 a.m. – Carnegie Center. Jischke will meet with the board of the Lifelong Learning Network, an organization developed in cooperation with the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, that provides an array of educational opportunities to Jasper County residents.

Noon – Halleck Center. Rensselaer Rotary Club luncheon, where Jischke's hosts will be Ernest Mills, St. Joseph's College president, and John Balvich, Rotary Club president. Jischke will speak about Purdue's community engagement initiatives and outline a vision for Indiana's rural communities.

1:15 p.m.– Jasper County Community Services. Jischke will be honorary "First Book" children's book reader. Host will be Ernestene Spence, Jasper County Extension Homemaker president. Photos can be taken during the book reading.

2 p.m. – Jasper County Farm Bureau. Jischke will meet with the board of directors of Iroquois Bio-Energy LLC, an ethanol-manufacturing company. Hosts will be Mike Aylesworth, president of the Iroquois Bio-Energy board, and Keith Gibson, the company's project manager.

2:50 p.m.– Rensselaer Central High School. Jischke will be welcomed by principal Ed Habrowski, will tour the school's new greenhouse and meet local citizens to discuss Purdue's land-grant mission and accessibility for local students to attend Purdue.

4:15 p.m.– Jasper County Fairgrounds. Open reception for alumni, friends and public to meet Jischke, hosted by Steve Jordan, president of the Jasper County Fair Association. Jischke will address the group and take questions.

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