seal  Purdue News

September 19, 2003

Purdue opportunity scholarship named for O'Bannon,
to go to student in his home area

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue President Martin C. Jischke today (Friday, 9/19) announced that the university will honor the late Gov. Frank O'Bannon by naming the first of its major new scholarships in his honor for a student from O'Bannon's home area, Harrison County.

The scholarship is part of the Purdue Opportunity Program to help students who face unusual personal challenges and financial hardship. Purdue plans to create one for each of Indiana's 92 counties, at a cost of $5.5 million.

"Frank O'Bannon was a people's governor who made education his No. 1 priority," Jischke told the Purdue Board of Trustees. "I can think of nothing that would please him more than to help someone from his home county have this opportunity."

Jischke said this and the other 91 scholarships Purdue awards will seek to help able students who otherwise could not dream of pursuing higher education.

"The goal of these scholarships is to help someone who not only has high financial need but who also has had to struggle with life – who wouldn't have the opportunity unless someone gave him or her a hand," Jischke said. "We intend to help 92 such students a year, and we think that will make a huge difference in their lives and those they touch."

The need-based Purdue Opportunity Awards Program is part of Purdue's $200 million scholarship drive – the largest student assistance campaign in the university's history – and the university's $1.3 billion Campaign for Purdue.

The scholarship drive has already raised $88.4 million toward the $200 million goal.

The Purdue Opportunity Awards Program will be available to incoming freshmen at the West Lafayette campus beginning in fall 2004. It will provide one freshman from each Indiana county a total financial aid package consisting of federal, state and Purdue aid that will pay for tuition and room and board for the recipient's first year at Purdue.

For subsequent years, students will receive counseling from the university to help secure additional financial support and will be asked, in turn, to mentor the next group of students receiving the award. Recipients will be selected based on nominations from local educators and community leaders, who will work with Purdue to identify students with the greatest need.

In addition to the $200 million fund-raising effort for student scholarships, efforts also include plans to raise $200 million to attract and retain faculty, $200 million for programs and centers, $600 million for facilities and equipment, and $100 million in unrestricted funds.

Writer: Jeanne Norberg, (765) 494-2084;

Source: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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