Purdue News

September 22, 2006

The comments below were made on Friday (Sept. 22) by Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, during the Engineering Dean's Club Luncheon. During the event, Gbile Adewunmi, a Purdue electrical and computer engineering alumnus, received the Engineering Alumni Service Award.

A Focus for the Future

Leah Jamieson


In my three decades of service at Purdue, I've never experienced the energy, the excitement, and the vision that we have at Purdue today.

And I'd like to acknowledge our president, Dr. Martin Jischke, for leading the effort. I'd like to also acknowledge a few groups in attendance today.

I'd like to welcome our School of Chemical Engineering Advisory Board, as well as the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Advisory Board. And we have another very committed group that's meeting on campus this weekend – the Engineering Alumni Association board!

It is truly a privilege to serve as Purdue's John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering during this exhilarating time in our history. But I do not serve alone. There's a highly dedicated group of individuals whose expertise lends crucial support during my tenure as dean.

If we look back at the past 100 years of human ingenuity, Purdue engineers have played a key role in many important advances:

• The world's first studies on locomotives

• Lillian Gilbreth's time and motion studies

• Designing the Golden Gate Bridge

• Pioneering space exploration, including the first and last men to walk on the moon — Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan

• The founding of the National Society of Black Engineers

Our mission is to continue the legacy and integrity of Purdue engineering.

This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked Purdue engineering's undergraduate programs number eight and our graduate programs number six. These rankings are a tribute to the excellence of our students, faculty, and staff across the entire college and are a tribute to our alumni.

Today, Purdue engineering is poised for leadership in this new century that will be dominated by advancements in engineering, science, and technology.

We look to the next 100 years of humankind with eager anticipation — grasping the opportunities found in globalization and the interconnectedness of societies — to improve the quality of life for all.

For the past few years, Purdue engineering has focused on growth in faculty, facilities, research, and educational experiences. And we've accomplished much in record time.

I believe that it is time for Purdue engineering to translate our growth into impact.

What are the fruits of our labor? What does our research provide the world? What contributions will our students make during their careers as engineers?

We will take advantage of the opportunities we've been given and turn them into accomplishments.

Ultimately we will be known for, and measure ourselves by, the impact of what our faculty, students, staff, and alumni are having on the global community.

To fulfill our bold vision for the future, we've been guided by an ambitious strategic plan. The plan calls for an expansion of our engineering facilities by almost 60 percent and remodeling existing buildings, classrooms, and labs.

We're undertaking eight major building projects!

We've completed a $20 million addition to our Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering. We've opened the $11 million Robert and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research. We are planning the first phase of a new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building and have completed private fund raising for a new $29 million mechanical engineering wing.

Also under construction today is the $53 million Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering — the gateway to Purdue engineering.

To ensure a diversity of ideas, and to better facilitate research and education in our labs and classrooms, we've set a long-term goal of increasing the size of our faculty to 395.

Answering the call for more U.S. engineers, we are leading a revolution in engineering education and have created the nation's first engineering education department.

We have 20 doctoral students currently enrolled in this program, and we just graduated our first doctoral student this past August! With this department, we aim to be the national leader in engineering education — from preschool through graduate school.

And there are more exciting initiatives taking place in our classrooms. We are reforming our curriculum — placing experiential learning at the core.

We are connecting engineering to the community through our nationally recognized and award winning Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program.

We are providing international experience through our engineering global programs, research experience to undergrads through our Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, and industry experience through our expansion of the co-op program.

In our labs, our vision for research growth is translating into an enormous impact in industry and on our globe.

Just this year, the National Science Foundation awarded $75.3 million for five new engineering research centers, and Purdue became the only university involved in two of those: The ERC for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, led by Monika Ivantysynova, and the ERC for Structured Organic Composites, led by Rex Reklaitis.

Research conducted by Purdue's multidisciplinary Hewlett-Packard Digital Printing Program, led by electrical and computer engineering professor Jan Allebach, has resulted in significant innovations and advances in the theory and practice of digital imaging and printing.

Technologies developed by this team can be found on the order of 10s or 100s of millions of HP units sold.

For NASA's upcoming mission to Jupiter, aeronautics professor Kathleen Howell is calculating trajectories, or "fast lanes," for planetary travel.

When NASA launched the Discovery shuttle this summer, it carried the work of another Purdue aeronautics professor, Steven Collicott — experiments that will be conducted at the International Space Station. The results of the experiments will be applicable to fuel tanks and life-support systems that provide air and water to astronauts!

Without a doubt, there are amazing things happening for Purdue engineering.

And as we enter the last year of the Campaign for Purdue, you — our alumni and friends — are helping us realize our vision through your generosity, insight, and commitment.

I'd like to recognize an individual whose generosity and commitment to the Engineering Alumni Association exemplifies the spirit of Purdue engineering.

Gbile Adewunmi is truly an ambassador for our college through his work at Delphi Electronics, through his speaking to current students about engineering careers, and through his service as president of the Engineering Alumni Association board.

Gbile received his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue.

It's my pleasure to present the Engineering Alumni Service Award to Gbile Adewunmi.

It's an exciting time for us all. We've experienced tremendous growth, we will continue to grow, and we will focus our attention on the impact that Purdue engineers are having on our campus, in our community, in the state of Indiana, in our nation, and in the world!

I'm proud and honored to be serving Purdue's College of Engineering!


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