April 25, 2003
School of Education honors distinguished alumni
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University's School of Education honored eight of its graduates as distinguished alumni at a ceremony today (Friday, 4/25) night at the university's Black Cultural Center.
Ellsworth Christmas, Esther Lee, Erick Pruitt, Barbara Siegfried, Sue Spooner, James Thomas, Muhyieddeen Sh. Touq and Joanne Troutner were honored for professional achievement and their contributions to the field of education.
Christmas, of West Lafayette, earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 1958, 1961 and 1964, respectively. An agronomy professor at Purdue, Christmas has been on the faculty for 41 years as a professor and Extension specialist. Christmas received the School of Education Career Achievement Award for dedication to the best educational practices, exemplary research and assistance to colleagues throughout the world.
Lee, who serves as dean of the graduate school at Troy State University - Montgomery in Montgomery, Ala., earned her doctoral degree from Purdue in 1971. Until moving to Troy State this fall, she was a professor and chair of the Department of Education at DePauw University. She produces a syndicated column about parenting and has served as deputy director of the U.S. Department of Education. Lee received the School of Education Award of Distinction for commitment and dedication to educational excellence and for outstanding leadership in higher education and government.
Pruitt is a sixth-grade teacher at Woodlawn Community School, a new community-based school with an African-centered curriculum in Chicago. He received his bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1998 after serving for eight years in the U.S. Marines. Pruitt received the School of Education Young Educator Award for commitment to urban education and innovation in teaching and dedication to the success of his students.
Siegfried, of Frankfort, Ind., is a teacher and chair of the English and foreign languages department at Clinton Central Jr./Sr. High School in Michigantown, Ind. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Purdue in 1959 and 1963, respectively. In the 44 years she has taught Spanish and English at Clinton Central, she has served as a mentor to thousands of students and as a sponsor for myriad school activities. Siegfried received the School of Education Mentor Award for dedication to the well-being of her high school students through exemplary teaching and mentoring.
Spooner, a professor emeritus at the University of Northern Colorado who lives in Estes Park Colo., earned her bachelor's and doctoral degrees from Purdue in 1960 and 1975, respectively. In 2000 she retired as a professor and coordinator of the college student personnel administration program at Northern Colorado. For more than 30 years she has held local and national leadership positions for the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts USA, including a nine-year stint as executive director of the Sycamore Girl Scout Council in Lafayette, Ind. Spooner received the School of Education Friend of Education Award for extraordinary professional and volunteer leadership and lifelong devotion to education, scholarship and service.
Thomas, of Greencastle, Ind., retired in 1989 as a professor from West Virginia State College. He received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Purdue in 1948, 1952 and 1960, respectively. His tenure at West Virginia State included time as the chair of the Department of Education and associate provost for academic affairs. A longstanding Rotarian and civic leader, he has served with several charitable and community organizations. Thomas received the School of Education Community Achievement Award for service to community through sustained commitment to education and a spirit of volunteerism.
Touq serves as the Jordanian ambassador to Austria and coordinates his country's diplomatic efforts in several other central European countries. A well-known author and scholar in the Middle East, he has served as a dean at three Arab universities and as president of Philadelphia University in Jordan. He received a doctoral degree from Purdue in 1972. Touq was honored with the School of Education Award of Distinction for scholarship, leadership and dedication to the advancement of education, and for steadfast commitment to improving international relations.
Troutner, of Lafayette, Ind., is the director of technology and media for the Tippecanoe School Corporation. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Purdue in 1974 and 1976, respectively. Troutner has worked as a media specialist and a junior high English teacher and writes a regular column for the international magazine Teacher Librarian. She received the School of Education Community Achievement Award for outstanding leadership, scholarship and teaching in the K-12 community and dedication to learners.
Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, email@example.com
Source: Jill Lesh, School of Education director of alumni relations, (765) 494-0568, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Publication-quality photographs of the recipients are available at https://admin2.soe.purdue.edu/alumni/distinguishedalumni03/welcome.htm.