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August 16, 2004

Purdue, West Lafayette welcome new graduate students to campus

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – As many students return to campus this week, new Purdue University graduate students will be receiving their own welcome to the university and to West Lafayette.

The Graduate School will sponsor a convocation for new graduate students from 9-10 a.m. on Friday (Aug. 20) in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse.

Most graduate programs on campus feature their own departmental orientation programs, but Friday morning's event will serve to introduce students to the services available through the Graduate School, as well as offering an introduction to Purdue and West Lafayette.

"Graduate students, particularly our doctoral students, might be at Purdue for five years or longer," said Associate Dean Thomas W. Atkinson. "While the students will spend much of their time on coursework, research and educational activities, that is a long time to remain insular. We encourage the student to reach out and become active members of the Purdue and West Lafayette communities."

At the convocation, students will hear about topics including professional development programs, research opportunities, student organizations and quality of life.

In addition to university representatives, West Lafayette Mayor Jan Mills will talk to students about the city and its resources and ways in which students can become involved in the community.

Atkinson said he hopes the convocation helps to make students aware of the resources available to them to ease their adjustment to Purdue and West Lafayette, while also improving their quality of life as they continue their studies.

"Issues important to graduate students can range from parking and insurance to graduate staff benefits and child care," he said. "Since the school is separate from any of the other academic schools and departments, we can also help serve as a neutral ombudsman when students have problems or concerns involving their home departments."

After the convocation, the school will sponsor an information fair until 11:30 a.m. in Stewart Center, rooms 202 and 214. The 25 organizations participating in the fair include the West Lafayette and Lafayette municipal offices, university religious organizations, Purdue Graduate Student Government and the Black Graduate Association, the Center for Instructional Excellence, and several Graduate School offices.

Purdue offers master's and doctoral degrees in more than 70 areas, including 10 interdisciplinary programs. In the 2003-04 school year, graduate enrollment at West Lafayette grew for the sixth consecutive year, to almost 7,100.

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

Sources: Thomas W. Atkinson, (765) 494-2045,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Journalists are invited to attend both the Graduate School convocation and the activities fair. Journalists will be able to speak to Graduate School Dean John Contreni and West Lafayette Mayor Jan Mills, as well as incoming graduate students. At the activities fair, more than 25 campus and community organizations will be on hand, and representatives from each can talk about the importance of graduate students to the campus and West Lafayette communities.

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