seal  President Jischke Speech

August 21, 2003

President Martin C. Jischke made these remarks to the Purdue Retiree Advisory Committee on Thursday (8/21).

Remarks to the Purdue Retiree Advisory Committee

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. I'm going to make some brief remarks and then I'd like to take your questions and comments.

Some four years ago when the Board of Trustees began the process of selecting a new president, they did a thorough assessment of the university. What they discovered was not a surprise to them — or to anyone else.

Purdue was in excellent shape, among the best and greatest universities in the nation and world. Purdue people had done a magnificent job. In fact, the trustees determined Purdue was doing so well, that it was perfectly positioned to move ahead.

No matter how good any person or any institution becomes, there is always the potential for improvement.

While many universities today are struggling to stay even Purdue has been positioned to move forward.

To accomplish the next set of goals, our trustees determined the university needed plans and strategies. I was recruited to Purdue to oversee the drafting and implementation of strategic plans that would attempt to build on standards of excellence that had already been established.

There is a long tradition of this at Purdue.

Late in the 19th century when the university's great pride, Heavilon Hall, lay in ruins after a disastrous fire, President James Smart said the great tower of that hall would go back up "one brick higher."

For more than a century now the tradition of this university has always been to attempt even better — to build "one brick higher."

In the fall of 2001 our trustees approved Purdue's strategic plans.

Very specific targets were selected. We are: Increasing faculty by 300 and increasing the time they spend in the classroom; investing more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in new and upgraded facilities; further increasing diversity; investing even more in salaries of faculty and staff to help attract and keep the best people for our students; investing more funds into scholarships and financial aid, to keep Purdue accessible to every qualified student.

And we are investing in new programs that will expand our research capacity in signature areas that will impact tomorrow, such as nanotechnology, bioscience, e-enterprise and entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

To provide us with the financial resources to accomplish this, we have launched The Campaign for Purdue. The goal is to raise $1.3 billion by 2007.

This is the largest capital campaign in the history of Indiana higher education. It is among the largest by public universities in the nation.

To meet our goals, we must raise $200 million for student scholarships, $200 million to attract and retain the very best faculty, $200 million for programs and centers, $600 million for facilities and equipment, and $100 million in unrestricted funds.

We are already well on our way. To date, the campaign has raised more than $740 million!

We raised a record $311,630,351 in 2002-2003. That was a 33 percent increase over the record year of 2001-2002!

I want to thank everyone who is playing a role in helping to accomplish this.

Funds for students and for faculty have a very high priority in this campaign. We need to increase the number of chaired professorships on this campus to help us recruit and keep the best people.

In spite of tremendous accomplishments in many areas, Purdue ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten in the number of chaired professorships.

We are working to change this and we are having success.

When we announced our Campaign for Purdue, our goal for scholarships was set at $200 million. It is a challenging goal, as it should be.

I am very happy to tell you that we have already raised more than $75 million to make certain that the doors of Purdue will always remain open to qualified students.

Our scholarship programs have focuses including need, academic excellence, special programs and diversity.

For example, we are going to offer 50 George Washington Carver Fellowships for graduates of historically black, Hispanic-serving or tribal colleges who want to pursue careers as professors.

We also are introducing a new scholarship program that will have an impact throughout the state of Indiana. It's called the Purdue Opportunity Awards Program.

The focus of these awards is on Indiana students who face unusual personal challenges and financial hardships.

We don't yet know the specifics of these individual challenges and hardships. But we do know they exist.

We know there are young people today in every county of Indiana who are qualified to study at Purdue, but obstacles stand in their way.

The Purdue Opportunities Awards will provide a full scholarship every year for one person in each of Indiana's 92 counties. It will pay for tuition, room and board for the recipient's first year at Purdue.

We'll get them started. And we'll help them continue.

For subsequent years, these students will receive help from the university to assist them in securing further financial support to continue their academic careers and fulfill their dreams.

These awards are going to change lives.

Purdue retirees provide tremendous support for this university in many ways.

We need your experience, knowledge and expertise. We also need your participation in this exciting Campaign for Purdue. I am very pleased to say the response we have received from retirees has been wonderful.

I often say that Purdue has the best faculty and staff of any university in the world. They believe in this university, they believe in our students and the promise of the future.

But we have more than that. We also have the best retirees, whose love for Purdue did not end with retirement. Our retirees continue to play an active, vital role in shaping the future of this university.

And for that, we are very grateful. Thank you for all you are doing. You are very much appreciated.

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