November 13, 2000
Note: Written for release 5 p.m. EST. Martin Jischke is scheduled to give his address
at 6 p.m. San Antonio time.
Purdue president delivers minority fellowship challenge
SAN ANTONIO -- Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke today (Monday 11/13) called for a national movement by America's universities to establish fellowships to increase the numbers of minority graduate students preparing to be the faculty of the future.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges in San Antonio, Texas, Jischke announced he will establish an annual fellowship at Purdue. He challenged other universities to follow his lead.
Purdue's fellowships, named for George Washington Carver, will be given to graduate students from historically black institutions, and Hispanic-serving or tribal colleges.
The awards will go to students interested in pursuing careers as professors. Jischke said the program would address a national shortage of minority faculty members, especially in engineering and the sciences.
"If each of the 212 NASULGC members were to fund one such fellowship (each year), and focus it in areas such as science, engineering and mathematics, we could nearly double the number of Ph.D.s earned annually by persons of color," Jischke said in his speech.
That effort would "ensure that the contributions of the George Washington Carvers of the 21st century are not lost," he said.
Jischke was in San Antonio delivering the second annual George Washington Carver lecture to the NASULGC conference.
Carver who was born a slave, became an internationally renowned professor and researcher at Tuskegee University. He died in 1943.
Carver served for a time on the faculty at Iowa State University, where he was the first African-American student. Jischke served as Iowa State's president before moving to Purdue last August.
"Think of the impact that 300 Carvers every year would have on the future of our universities and the nation," Jischke told NASULGC members. "I challenge each of you to make a commitment to these kinds of programs, to recommit to the ideal of opportunity.
"If we did, there would be more Ph.D.s produced in the United States in fields we all desperately need," he said. "And, it would help ensure the continued vitality of our minority-serving colleges and universities."
Jischke estimated each Ph.D. fellowship at a public university costs about $15,000 per year After four years of awarding the fellowships, universities would need an annual commitment of about $60,000.
That amount, he said, "is a very small price to pay for something that is so badly needed by our institutions and so very important to a generation of young people.
"We need a sincere commitment to expand opportunities for young people to attend our institutions," Jischke said. "It takes money -- lots of money. But we're raising money -- lots of money. Our development programs set records every year.
"It's time -- putting it bluntly -- to put our money where our mouth is," he said.
Jischke said money for the Purdue fellowships will come from gift funds.
Jischke also called for strong support of minority institutions, many of them created through the 1890 U.S. Land-Grant Act.
"Let us all be clear about the essential role that our 1890 member institutions -- and the Hispanic-serving and tribal colleges of NASULGC -- play in our diverse system of higher education," he said. "These institutions are national treasures that our nation desperately needs and that deserve our continued support.
"We need to step forward in our time," Jischke said. "There is much good happening in our country today -- progress that Carver hoped and worked for all his life and never lived to see.
"But, there is so much more that Carver hoped and worked for that remains to be accomplished; goals we still haven't reached as we enter the 21st century -- 136 years after this great man was born.
"We've been too long getting to the place we need to go," Jischke said. "We need to take action, the kind of action Dr. Carver would have liked to have seen in his lifetime. We owe this to Dr. Carver, and to the future of the society we serve.
"The time is now."
Founded in 1887 NASULGC has 212 member institutions, including 17 historically black colleges and universities and 30 tribal colleges. The 113th annual meeting of NASULGC is underway today through Wednesday at the Marriott Rivercenter-Riverwalk.
Source: Martin C. Jischke (765) 494-9780
Writer: John B. Norberg, (765) 496-7783, firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Web sites:National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges