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Sept. 26, 2003

$30 million in gifts usher in week of celebrations at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke today (Friday, 9/26) will announce six gifts to the university totaling more than $30 million for strategic initiatives, including building projects for the Schools of Engineering and the School of Liberal Arts.

The gifts, to be announced at the annual President's Council dinner include:

• $10 million in unrestricted funds from B.J. and Karen Palmore.

• $7 million from Roger B. Gatewood for the School of Mechanical Engineering.

• $5 million from Patrick Wang for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

• $4 million from an anonymous donor for the newly constructed Visual and Performing Arts Building.

• $2.5 million from Donald W. and Catherine C. Feddersen for the School of Mechanical Engineering.

• $2 million from William B. and Mary Jane Elmore for the William and Mary Jane Elmore Advanced Wireless Concept Validation Laboratory in the Birck Nanotechnology Center.

The donors will be awarded Purdue's Distinguished Pinnacle Award – a recognition for leadership gifts and philanthropic gifts to the university.

Today's events will kick off more than a week of gift announcements, groundbreakings, buildings dedications and other special events that will continue until Oct. 4. The gifts are part of the university's five-year Campaign for Purdue, a $1.3 billion fund-raising effort.

"In today's uncertain times, Purdue is even more reliant on the generosity of its alumni in providing the type of education that our students need," Jischke said. "That generosity is what is making the Campaign for Purdue a success and what will help us to continue to serve our state and nation."


Karen and B.J. Palmore

Karen and B.J. Palmore

The Palmores are pledging their $10 million gift as a bequest. When the university receives the gift, the money can be channeled to areas where it is most needed at the time.

"The flexible nature of Bill and Karen Palmore's generosity will enable Purdue to continue to grow into the future," Jischke said. "As the needs of the university change and evolve, we can direct the gift to where it is most needed."

William Palmore, who received a bachelor's degree in animal science in 1959, said his Purdue education is responsible for all of the professional success he has experienced. Though his career has led him away from the field of agriculture, Palmore said he is excited about the direction that the university is moving, and hopes he and his wife's contribution will help to maintain the level of excellence Purdue has demonstrated over time.

A native of Clinton County, Ind., Palmore as a student did not spend much time on campus outside of classes because of a 40-hour-a-week job at a local soybean processing plant. But, he said, he still looks back fondly on campus life at Purdue.

"To me, there's nothing like a college campus," Palmore said. "There is an electric atmosphere – for students and alumni. I look back on that feeling fondly at Purdue, and Karen and I are very pleased to be able to contribute to help make that feeling possible for future students."

The Palmores live in Grand Rapids, Mich. After more than 20 years in the pet and livestock food business, Palmore now is a senior vice president at USB Financial Services. Karen Palmore also works for USB Financial Services as a vice president.


Donald W. and Catherine C. Feddersen; Roger B. Gatewood

Roger B. Gatewood

Jischke announced the gifts from Gatewood and the Feddersens as part of the School of Mechanical Engineering's $128 million campaign, which includes $37 million for two major building projects – a $26 million wing and renovations to Ray W. Herrick Laboratories. All but $10 million of the money for construction and renovation will come from private gifts.

Gatewood said, "The gift will help draw attention to the accomplishments of internationally known faculty who have made important contributions to the field. The facility can serve as a reminder of the strength and innovation of mechanical engineering at Purdue, helping to attract world-class students and faculty members."

Donald W. Feddersen

Gatewood, who gave $7 million – $2 million outright and $5 million in an estate, received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1968. A resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., Gatewood is president of Westfield USA, a homebuilding company.

The new 52,000-square-foot mechanical engineering wing will support the full-scale implementation of a number of innovative learning models developed by the faculty, as well as accommodate emerging research programs, said E. Daniel Hirleman, the William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of School of Mechanical Engineering.

Catherine C. Feddersen

"For more than a century, the Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering has been an international leader in curriculum advances, for example in control theory, experiential or lab-based learning, communications, design, and team-based engineering," Hirleman said. "The new wing will enable the next wave of educational innovations. In our multi-scale manufacturing center, students will become as well-versed in microfabrication and eventually nanofabrication as they are with the traditional large-scale manufacturing processes of today. In the Product Engineering and Realization Lab, students will be immersed in a microcosm of the product life cycle. A centerpiece collaborative classroom will support peer-to-peer and team-enhanced learning."

Issam Mudawar
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The new wing, as well as major renovations to the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, also will increase the research space. Much of that space will accommodate an emphasis on the Schools of Engineering's research signature areas, including advanced manufacturing, nanotechnology, perception technologies and tissue and cellular engineering.

Hirleman said those research facilities also will include laboratories with an emphasis on biomechanical engineering and product informatics – the application of information technology to the product life cycle.

The Feddersens' $2.5 million gift is unrestricted to mechanical engineering and will be used for the most pressing strategic needs of the school, including facilities, faculty support, and student scholarships and fellowships, Hirleman said.

"Our Purdue educations have helped each alumnus advance professionally. By giving back, we can ensure that future students have the same type of success," said Donald Feddersen, who received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1956 and chairs the Mechanical Engineering Campaign Steering Committee. "Catherine and I think it's so important for alumni to stay connected with their alma maters, and we are happy to be able to help Purdue."

Donald Feddersen, a pioneer in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing tools, works with a number of high-tech companies. Catherine Feddersen is a graduate of Wellesley College and is owner and managing director of Burke Capital, an investment management firm.

Linda P.B. Katehi, Purdue's John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, said the gifts for the School of Mechanical Engineering will help the school grow as it continues to change with the field.

"We will add 15 faculty positions in mechanical engineering during the next few years in areas such as advanced manufacturing, energy and propulsion, and nanotechnology," Katehi said. "The new facilities will allow us to merge research in modern, emerging technologies with modern teaching methods that the current space simply cannot accommodate."


Patrick Wang

Patrick Wang

Wang's gift will support the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering's $128 million campaign, which includes professorships, scholarships and programs, as well as a proposal to build a new discovery facility and to remodel space in the Electrical Engineering Building and the Materials and Electrical Engineering Building.

The new building, which would likely be a part of the university's Discovery Park, would be dedicated to research in areas such as computer engineering, computer vision, robotics and artificial intelligence. Although still in the planning stage, the building would add more than 30,000 square feet of space to the school.

"Electrical and Computer Engineering facilities are an important priority for the university," Katehi said. "Undergraduate enrollment in the school has increased 30 percent in the past decade and research expenditures have doubled. At the same time, space allocated to the school's teaching and research programs is approximately half that of its peers."

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering also will renovate both the Electrical Engineering Building and the space in the Materials and Electrical Engineering Building that it will take over when the School of Materials Engineering moves into the new Millennium Building. Those renovations will increase the space dedicated to students, including a resource room where they can receive help in communication skills.

"Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering is one of the best, not only in the United States, but in the world," Wang said. "I hope this gift can help to encourage more international involvement with the university. People throughout the world enjoy the benefits of the education and research being done at the school."

Wang received both a bachelor's and master's degree electrical engineering from Purdue in 1972. A resident of Hong Kong, Wang serves as the chairman and CEO of Johnson Electric, the world's largest manufacturer of the types of small motors used to power equipment such as hair dryers, electric toothbrushes and electric car windows.


Gift for Visual and Performing Arts Building

The anonymous donor will give $2 million to the newly constructed Visual and Performing Arts Building now, and will match another $2 million to be raised by the School of Liberal Arts, completing the $38 million facility. This is the largest gift to the project and will ensure its fund-raising completion by June.

Visual and Performing Arts Building
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"The Visual and Performing Arts Building, which houses galleries and studios for dance, visual arts and interior design, is a place for liberal arts majors, and students from all fields, to learn about creativity through technological and traditional outlets," said Toby Parcel, dean of the School of Liberal Arts. "Community members also will be invited to view student and faculty work in the galleries and on stage."

This fall, the 166,700-square-foot Visual and Performing Arts Building, on Marsteller and Wood streets, opened for classes in art and design and dance. The divisions of theater, music and art education will move in after the second phase of construction, which is scheduled to begin this summer.

The second phase includes two theaters and space for costume design and storage, dressing rooms, prop storage and scenery construction, as well as studios and workshop space for theater, music classes and art education. The Nancy T. Hansen Theatre, a 300-seat proscenium, will take the place of the Experimental Theater in Stewart Center. The second, the Carole and Gordon Mallett Theatre, will seat 138-170 people, depending upon its configuration, and will replace an existing, smaller black box theater.


William B. and Mary Jane Elmore

William B. Elmore

The Elmores' gift of $2 million will help pay for the William and Mary Jane Elmore Advanced Concept Validation Center, a laboratory that will be built in the Birck Nanotechnology Center. The center laboratory will be used to help transition the technology developed in the nanotechnology center to marketable products and processes.

Mary Jane Elmore

The Birck Nanotechnology Center is one of five major centers planned for Phase I of Purdue's Discovery Park, a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary teaching and research complex. Other facilities include the Bindley Bioscience Center, Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, an e-enterprise center and the Discovery Learning Center.

Nanotechnology focuses on building minute devices and systems atom by atom. Its applications potentially will affect business, medical treatment, communication and other fields in everything from super-small computers, spacecraft and microscopic machines, to tiny life-saving medical devices and new materials.

The building will include flexible laboratory space that can be shifted and changed to accommodate various interdisciplinary research projects. One of the center's other features will be the placement of chemical and biological processing labs adjacent to and within facilities typically used to make computer microchips, easing collaboration among researchers in different types of science.

"Nanotechnology is a developing discipline," Katehi said. "Projections are that the United States will need 2 million engineers and scientists in the next 15 years, and many of them will be in emerging areas like nanotechnology."

William Elmore said that he and his wife both encounter Purdue graduates in their professional lives, and these graduates continue to be some of the most innovative researchers and entrepreneurs working in high-tech fields.

"From our work in venture capital, both Mary Jane and I know importance of the link between research and commercial endeavors," Elmore said. "The research that will be done at the Birck Nanotechnology Center will be the base of new companies that will change all of our lives."

William Elmore received bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1974 and 1975, respectively, and Mary Jane Elmore graduated from Purdue in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. Now living in Palo Alto, Calif., both work in venture capital. William is a cofounder and general partner of Foundation Capital, in Menlo Park, Calif., and Mary Jane is a partner with Institutional Venture Partners also in Menlo Park.

As of Sept. 1, Purdue had raised $766 million of the Campaign for Purdue's $1.3 billion goal.

Campaign fund raising supports the objectives of Purdue's strategic plan, which include efforts to increase funds for student scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, programs and centers, and facilities and equipment.

Writers: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

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

Linda P.B. Katehi, (765) 494-5346,

E. Daniel Hirleman, (765) 494-5688,

Toby Parcel, (765) 494-3660,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Issam Mudawar, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, demonstrates the liquid-cooling system he has developed for future computers. Research like Mudawar's will be among the work that faculty and students will be able to do in the facilities planned for the School of Mechanical Engineering. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

An anonymous donor will give $4 million to the newly constructed $38 million Visual and Performing Arts Building. The donor will give $2 million now, and will match another $2 million to be raised by the School of Liberal Arts. This fall, dance and art and design moved into the building. Theater, music and art education departments will move in after the second phase of construction is complete. (Purdue News Service photo/Dave Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at