seal  Purdue News

March 23, 2004

Purdue vice provost for engagement to step down in June

Don K. Gentry

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Don K. Gentry, Purdue University's vice provost for engagement, announced today (Tuesday, 3/23) that he will retire from the office June 30.

Gentry, who has served Purdue for 21 years, was the dean of the School of Technology for 14 years and helped launch the university's Statewide Technology Program. Gentry, 65, said he will continue to serve half time to oversee special economic development projects and assist with the transition of the new vice provost for engagement. University regulations require that executives in top policy positions retire by the end of the fiscal year in which they turn 65.

As vice provost for engagement, Gentry has led Purdue's expanded effort to use university resources to address economic development and other issues affecting the state's prosperity and quality of life. He has worked directly with Indiana's leaders, the business community and citizens to find ways for Purdue to expand economic opportunities in the state.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said he is gratified that Gentry will continue to assist as needed with the university's economic development initiatives.

"Don will remain a valuable member of the Purdue engagement team," Jischke said. "His expertise in technology and economic development is unparalleled. We are deeply grateful for his dedication and his exemplary service to the university."

Provost Sally Mason will appoint a committee to conduct a search for Gentry's replacement.

"With wisdom and diplomatic aplomb, Don has led Purdue's effort to be more deeply involved with Indiana and its citizens," Mason said. "I am enormously appreciative of the tremendous strides Don has made in helping Purdue build the state's economy and improve the lives of Hoosiers."

Gentry said he is looking forward to tackling some special projects. He also plans to travel and spend more time with his wife, Carol, his three children and seven grandchildren.

"After 42 years of a full-time career, I am looking forward to picking and choosing what I want to do," Gentry said. "With Dr. Jischke and Provost Mason's visionary leadership, Purdue continues to soar to new heights on many fronts. I am confident that Purdue's engagement efforts will continue to grow."

Since his appointment as vice provost for engagement in August 2001, Gentry has been responsible for a wide range of activities that foster Purdue's presence as an economic driving force in the state. He has been involved with the development and growth of statewide partnerships and the initiation and management of special projects that link Purdue with communities, companies and the non-profit sector throughout the state. Examples include:

• The Technical Assistance Program. The state-funded program was started in 1986 to help business, industry and government implement new technologies. According to a TAP report, during the last 18 years the program has resulted in $292 million in increased sales by Indiana businesses, $61 million in new capital investments, $27 million in reduced business costs and nearly 4,000 Indiana jobs created or saved.

• Regional Technology Centers. Purdue has been instrumental in the creation of several technology parks throughout Indiana. They include technology centers in Shelbyville, Fort Wayne, Anderson, Merrillville, Columbus and Kokomo, and are modeled after the university's activities at the Purdue Research Park. Plans for another park, associated with the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in northeast Daviess County, are being discussed.

• Opportunity for Indiana. This three-year project counters Indiana's "brain drain," the term for the state's college graduates taking jobs outside the state. A statewide initiative, Opportunity for Indiana is funded by a $3.5 million Lilly Endowment grant. The initiative seeks to create new high-tech jobs within the state and ultimately keep high-tech graduates employed in Indiana.

• Purdue's annual High-tech Job Fair for Indiana Companies. The job fair gives Indiana businesses the opportunity to recruit some of the state's brightest students. It is the only job recruitment event at Purdue that limits companies to hiring specifically for in-state job openings. The job fair, sponsored by Purdue's Technical Assistance Program, attracts an average of 3,000 to 4,000 students annually.

• Science Bound. A program initiated in 2002 by Jischke, Science Bound mentors eighth-grade to 12th-grade Indianapolis Public Schools students and encourages them to take classes in preparation for future careers in science, engineering, technology and math-science education. Upon acceptance, Science Bound students receive an opportunity to earn a full-tuition scholarship to Purdue to study in an approved technical field.

• Academic competitions. Purdue has committed $300,000 to sponsor academic competitions administered by the Indiana Association of School Principals. Approximately 30,000 Indiana K-12 students participate in the competitions, which include spelling, math and "super bowl" contests, along with statewide academic decathlons.

Other career highlights for Gentry include 13 years of leadership as executive director of Indiana's vocational and technical education system. Gentry has been recognized at the state and national level for his service to education and economic development. He also has served as president of two national professional organizations and on numerous local and state boards.

An Indiana native from Montgomery County, Gentry received bachelor's degrees from Purdue in animal science and agriculture education in 1962. He also earned a master's degree from Purdue in 1967 in secondary education and educational administration. Gentry received his doctorate in educational administration from Indiana University in 1979.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

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

Sally Mason, (765) 494-9709,

Don K. Gentry, (765) 494-9095,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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