sealPurdue News

April 28, 2003

Purdue Alumni Association executive director to retire

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Lawrence S. Preo, who has served as executive director of the Purdue Alumni Association for 15 years, announced today (Tuesday, 4/29) that he will retire in June 2004.

Lawrence S. Preo

Preo, 62, said he will miss daily interactions with alumni when he takes his early retirement.

"Serving as executive director of the Purdue Alumni Association has been an incredible honor," Preo said. "I have traveled around the world meeting Purdue alumni and sharing the university story. It has been an extraordinary experience watching the association and the university grow."

Preo said he will leave the association in good hands.

"PAA has never been stronger," he said. "The association staff is absolutely first-rate, as is our volunteer board of directors. They are deeply committed to the success of the alumni association and the university. And although I will miss the interaction with my colleagues and our alumni, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and friends. I also may pursue a few consulting opportunities that have surfaced."

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said, "Larry Preo has provided outstanding leadership for Purdue alumni. Thanks to his efforts, PAA is recognized as one of the best alumni associations in the country, and it is positioned to become even stronger. I am grateful for all he has done for the university and for our graduates."

The seventh executive director in the association's 125-year history, Preo was named executive director in July 1988. He has played an integral role in the development of the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center, due to open next spring. He also has served on the cabinets of Purdue President Emeritus Steven C. Beering and current president Jischke.

In April 2002, the alumni association's board of directors adopted a five-year strategic plan. The plan calls for the independent, membership-driven organization to create distinct membership programs, an outstanding communication system and a strong partnership with the university.

"The merging of our volunteers with the staff has resulted in a strong strategic plan for the association," Preo said. "We have created a climate of change that will greatly improve this organization for years to come."

Throughout his 15-year tenure, Preo has pursued various corporate partnerships to advance PAA's positioning within the alumni market. He also has strengthened the association's relationship with the university.

An example of this relationship is the association's role as the official University Bowl Tour operator. PAA has taken thousands of alumni to six football bowl games, including the 2001 Rose Bowl. And with more than 120 alumni clubs worldwide, Preo facilitated the addition of club staff to meet the needs of club leaders and expand the services PAA provides to the club program.

In addition to his role as executive director of PAA, Preo serves as the executive director of the Purdue Alumni Foundation and as secretary of its board of directors. Under his leadership, the foundation has grown from $49 million to $124 million.

Preo also has been active in various community organizations in Greater Lafayette, including the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and the American Heart Association.

He is a founding member and the current president-elect of the Council of Alumni Association Executives, an organization of chief executive officers of alumni organizations supporting major private, public and land-grant institutions of higher education. Preo has served as treasurer and membership chairman of CAAE.

A 14-year member of the Council of Advancement and Support of Education, Preo has served on numerous commissions and committees. CASE is a professional organization for institutional advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications and development.

Preo earned his bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1963, a master's degree from Southern Illinois University in 1967 and a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1972. Preo was a former member of Purdue's football team and served as director of Purdue's Division of Recreation Sports from 1984 until he was named alumni association director in 1988.

PAA president Phil Waid said the alumni association will immediately start the process of a nationwide search for Preo's replacement.

"A search committee will be named by early summer," Waid said. "Larry has brought to the alumni association a tremendous combination of enthusiasm and passion for Purdue University and its alumni. He has been a leader in alumni work across the country. Larry will leave behind a tremendous legacy that will benefit Purdue for many years to come."

CONTACT: Ellen Yazbec, PAA assistant director of communications, (765) 494-5184,; Mary Dennis, assistant to the executive director, (765) 494-5179.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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