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May 22, 2003

Purdue chemistry department second in minority doctorates

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recently recognized Purdue University's chemistry department for its efforts in recruiting minority doctoral students.

The Sloan Foundation, a private organization based in New York City that has funded a minority recruitment program in chemistry and biology at Purdue every year since 1996, acknowledged the university for more than tripling its enrollment of minority doctoral candidates since 1996. The chemistry department now has 51 minority students enrolled, up from 16 in 1996.

According to the American Chemical Society, Purdue ranks second in the nation in producing minority doctoral degree recipients. The University of North Carolina ranks first. Purdue's chemistry program ranks first out of 63 Sloan programs in recruiting minority graduate students.

"Purdue's chemistry department has been playing a major role – and over time will play even a larger role – in the important national effort to increase the number of underrepresented minority students earning Ph.D.s in the sciences and engineering," wrote Ted Greenwood, program director for the Sloan Foundation, in correspondence to Purdue Provost Sally Mason.

Greenwood also mentioned the contributions of Dwight Lewis, director of minority programs who serves as the chief recruiter of minority doctoral students; Robert Wild, assistant chemistry department head; and Greta Bryson, an alumna of the program and mentor for Sloan students now in the chemistry department at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.

"It has really been a collaborative effort with the faculty and staff of the chemistry department and the graduate school, Lewis said. "We should be proud that all units of the university, including the faculty members who have served as mentors to these students, have worked so well to make this program work."

Wild said that Purdue's success could be attributed to the university's commitment to bringing in minority students and providing them with support mechanisms to ensure their success.

"We are certainly proud of our efforts in recruiting minority Ph.D. candidates and look forward to continued success in this area," he said.

For additional information on Sloan Foundation initiatives, contact Lewis at (765) 494-3232 or Wild at (765) 494-5205.

Writer/source: Vincent Dent, (765) 494-5206,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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