February 16, 2007

Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke made these remarks Friday (February 16) during a meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke's comments to the board of trustees

Good morning.

Although it is a cold day in West Lafayette, I bid you a very warm welcome to our campus.

This has been an eventful week. As much as 17 inches of blowing snow and zero temperatures are certain to make any week eventful. In fact, the news media has reported Tippecanoe County had the most snowfall in the state.

Purdue West Lafayette declared a snow recess beginning at noon Tuesday and ending at noon Wednesday. It was then extended until 6 a.m. Thursday.

All classes were canceled during that time. Most employees were asked to leave the university and/or not report for work from noon Tuesday until resumption of normal operations.

Some personnel were required to stay on campus for all or part of the duration of the snow recess to maintain the university's essential operations. They included key personnel in the residence halls, student health care center, foods stores, physical facilities, Memorial Union and transportation services. Emergency housing and meals were provided at university expense for those who were required to remain. Police and fire personnel were also on duty throughout the storm this week.

At Calumet, classes were canceled as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. The campus was completely closed Wednesday, and the normal schedule resumed Thursday morning.

IPFW and North Central were closed all day Tuesday and Wednesday, reopening Thursday morning.

Fortunately, these recess are quite rare.

I want to express our sincere thanks to all Purdue faculty and staff during this difficult time. Many people were able to get in to West Lafayette on Tuesday morning and performed important work. The faculty and staff of Purdue systemwide respond to this storm with great dedication and determination.

We cannot thank them enough.

Thanks also to our students for their cooperation.

The decisions to close were made only after careful consideration of all factors, including safety of students, faculty and staff and the impact on the academic calendar.

Any decision on whether to continue operations is made on the basis of recommendations from safety and security administrators, who are experts in this matter and who work closely with local, county and state officials. They take into account whether people can travel safely to get to their jobs and whether students can walk safely to class.

Roads in Tippecanoe County were open Tuesday morning and public safety officials had not restricted travel. However, conditions continued to worsen through the day. We remained closed Wednesday in West Lafayette at the request of county officials who were concerned about rural roads and highways.

The decision to close is always a very difficult judgment call. Purdue works hard to make the best decision for all concerned.

Although we were reluctant to agree to a suspension of classes, the extremely severe conditions and the risks and difficulty for people traveling persuaded us that the suspension was necessary.

We understand that faculty have done a great deal of work and planning for their classes. We know this is disruptive. The impact on laboratory sessions is especially serious. But we know that members of the Purdue faculty and our students will work hard to recover from this setback.

Thanks to everyone for helping us meet this unexpected challenge.

The Indiana General Assembly is in session.

Everything we have done at Purdue during the past six years has been accomplished at a time when the state investment in our general fund has remained flat, at best.

We understand the reasons for this clearly. State revenue has been down. Three governors and the General Assembly have had difficult times balancing their budgets. But the reality we have faced is flat funding through seven years.

In 2000-2001, the year I arrived at Purdue, the West Lafayette campus received $267.4 million from the state. After removing a payment the state owed us from 2002-2003, this fiscal year the West Lafayette campus is receiving $269.3 million. That is an increase through seven budgets of 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index and the Higher Education Price Index has continued to rise. Since 2000, the Consumer Price Index has gone up 17.6 percent. The Higher Education Price Index, which is a more accurate measure of our costs, has gone up 27.9 percent.

We have succeeded with our strategic plans during a time of extremely difficult funding.

As the General Assembly meets in session and shapes a new biennial budget as its prime order of business, the governor has proposed a 5 percent increase for Purdue in each of the next two years. It is welcome news, and we are working to gather support for this proposal in the General Assembly.

As I reported to you in December, we are also working to support the Governor's initiative to franchise the lottery.

Under this plan, the state would continue to receive the funds that now come annually from the lottery. Also, an estimated $1 billion would be available for investments in higher education through merit scholarships and faculty support.

We continue to move forward with our strategic plan goals.

As you know, we have passed our $1.5 billion Campaign for Purdue goal. The campaign will go on as planned, concluding June 30.

In other areas of our plans:

The Purdue Research Foundation announced this week that 2006 was a record-breaking year for startup companies formed from Purdue-licensed technologies. PRF's Office of Technology Commercialization reports that 14 companies were launched last year based on Purdue researchers' innovations in the fields of medical devices, life sciences, information technology, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, telecommunication and engineering design.

This great success is due to a number of factors, including increased efforts by Purdue's Discovery Park to educate and guide faculty toward successful start-up initiatives, as well as the Research Foundation's enhanced marketing of emerging technologies to interested entrepreneurs and investors. Of the 14 companies formed, 10 are located in Indiana and four of those have headquarters at the Purdue Research Park.

Congratulations to everyone at the Research Park and Discovery Park, including the faculty involved.

We have set our goal at preeminence. And I believe we are accomplishing it. Purdue is an international university — among the best in the world.

Our Krannert School of Management just received top 15 MBA rankings worldwide in a pair of categories included in a British Financial Times survey. The survey went to graduates of business programs worldwide.

Krannert placed ninth worldwide in top salaries in industry. It ranked 12th worldwide in placement success. It ranked 25th worldwide in doctoral rank, which measures the number of doctoral graduates produced in the last three years. Overall, Krannert ranked 30th among all U.S. MBA schools in the international survey. Krannert ranked 48th worldwide.

And here is the real message in this. That top 50 worldwide ranking is up 29 spots from last year.

Last fall, the Financial Times ranked our International Master's in Management program 12th worldwide among executive master's programs. This attests to Krannert's increased global recognition. It attests to the outstanding leadership of Dean Richard A. Cosier.

This is the impact of our Campaign for Purdue and strategic plans.

Our strategic plans and Campaign for Purdue are expanding our international presence not only in management but in all our schools, colleges and programs.

A delegation from Purdue has just returned from India, where they signed a collaborative agreement with that country's Department of Science and Technology. We have entered into cooperative education and research programs with Chinese universities.

Purdue now has about 175 academic partnerships with institutions in more than 70 nations.

Alternative energy is critical to our environment, our economy and our national defense. We are playing a leadership role in this area.

President Bush last month discussed alternative energy in his State of the Union message. Purdue molecular biologist Nancy Ho was invited by the White House to sit in the House Gallery with Laura Bush during the speech.

Dr. Ho is a senior scientist in Purdue's Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering. She has played a large role in making a genetically altered yeast that can change the sugars obtained from corn stalks, wheat straw and other plant residues into ethanol.

We are uniquely positioned at Purdue to move our nation forward.

Next week at Purdue we will celebrate National Engineers Week.

Our featured speaker Thursday will be former Secretary of State Colin Powell. His talk is titled "Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust and Values." The response to this talk from our students, faculty, staff and the community has been enormous.

Other programs planned during National Engineers Week at Purdue include the announcement of the 2007 Distinguished Engineering Alumni and the Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Finally, I conclude this morning on a very serious and troubling subject.

Wade Steffey, a 19-year-old freshman, disappeared from our campus early in the morning on January 13. He was last seen outside Owen Hall about 12:30 a.m.

Wade is a National Merit Scholar majoring in aviation technology. He is an Eagle Scout and a native of Bloomington, Indiana.

I want to thank the many, many people from Purdue, from our community and from throughout the state who have worked very hard on this tragic situation.

The public has taken part in massive searches of the campus and surrounding areas. All-terrain vehicle owners and a group of Hummer drivers have taken part in the search, along with riders on horses and people on foot. The Tippecanoe County Geographical Information System provided detailed maps for plotting purposes. The Community and Family Resource Center in Lafayette provided child care service for the children of those participating in the search. Purdue Residences Halls and Dining Services have worked in this effort. The news media continue to play a very important role in this search.

More than 1,000 volunteers have taken part in ongoing searches of the campus and the surrounding area.

Boats and helicopters provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department and Indiana State Police have searched the Wabash River. The DNR also offered its all-terrain vehicles for use in the search along the Wabash River banks. More than a half-dozen canine units have searched cars, campus, construction areas, golf courses, the tennis center, the 185-acre Celery Bog Nature Center, waterways and many buildings. Purdue staff have searched the campus, including tunnels, rooftops, utility areas and construction sites.

The 39 officers in the Purdue University Police Department are being assisted by the FBI and two former FBI agents from Team Adam, provided through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. All police agencies in Tippecanoe County and the Indiana State Police are helping as needed. Many other police agencies around the state have helped.

Volunteers from Bloomington have joined in the search.

Wade's information has been added to the database for the National Center for Missing Adults as well as that for missing children.

The Purdue News Service has been very active in this effort, including offering assistance to the family.

You can see that this has been a huge effort involving many people and agencies.

My sincere thank you to everyone who has helped in this. You have all done outstanding work.

The spirit of cooperation and willingness of so many to take part in this has been incredibly helpful. We are proud of the response from our university and our community.

Speaking for all of Purdue, our hearts go out to Wade's parents, Dale Steffey and Dawn Adams.

This search continues, and we have not lost hope.

Thank you.


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