seal  Purdue News

December 15, 2003

Indianapolis couple gives gift to benefit Purdue football

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An Indianapolis couple responded to the Purdue football team's need to be more competitive by designating a $300,000 gift to upgrade video and computing equipment and challenging others to match their gift.

James Ackerman, an Indianapolis cable television executive, and his wife, Lois, designated a challenge grant to inspire other Purdue supporters, Morgan Burke, director of intercollegiate athletics, said November14.

"The Ackermans are very generous people who wanted us to help identify ways in which their gift could be useful," Burke said. "Jim and Lois are essentially providing half the funds necessary for us to purchase the instructional equipment coach Joe Tiller needs – if we can raise the rest by March 1. We hope the Ackermans' gift will inspire other Purdue supporters to step up and match their gift."

When Tiller's contract was extended to 2010 earlier this week, he indicated that new video equipment would significantly help the program.

Burke said, "This new equipment would have a tremendous impact on our program and help everyone extract more out of our game and practice video. By making this investment, we will be more productive, improve the quality of our instruction and make better use of our time. "

The system is estimated to total more than $600,000. It will include a local-access network to create teaching tapes, using a tapeless system, where players can tap into the central server and access coaches' teaching tapes. Coaches also will have the ability to segment portions of the practices and games to study players and opponents, which is not possible with the current system.

"What this ultimately means is that we can use the technology of today to improve the overall quality of our football program, while giving student-athletes the necessary resources to work faster and more efficiently in their very busy lives, both on and off the field," Burke said.

The Ackermans have given nearly $5 million in gifts to the university. Some areas benefiting include the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship, Purdue Aquatic Center and Ackerman Golf Course. The couple also has funded the James F. Ackerman Distinguished Professor of Social Studies.

Writer: Jesica Webb (765) 494-2079;

Source: Morgan Burke, (765) 494-3189,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;