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February 21, 2007

Purdue engineering announces $10 million in gifts

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's College of Engineering on Wednesday (Feb. 21) announced gifts of more than $10 million as part of a National Engineers Week celebration.

The funds will support the new Roger B. Gatewood Mechanical Engineering Wing, the Seng-Liang Wang Hall of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Purdue's Discovery Park, and an endowed professorship and undergraduate scholarships for industrial engineering.

"These funds will continue the progress we have made to enhance the quality of research and education at Purdue," said President Martin C. Jischke. "Alumni continue to support our strategic plan and vision for the future of Purdue by helping us increase the number of endowed professorships, provide scholarships for our students and expand our research and teaching facilities."

To date, the Campaign for Purdue has exceeded its $1.5 billion goal by $23 million. Of that, Purdue's College of Engineering has raised $384 million.

"Thanks to our alumni and partners, in the past five years we have grown from 284 faculty members to 339," said Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. "We are investing more than $230 million in new facilities and equipment and have secured more than $41 million in gifts to support graduate and undergraduate scholarships."

Michael and Elaine Thiele
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A $1 million gift from Michael and Elaine Thiele will support the School of Mechanical Engineering's new Roger B. Gatewood Mechanical Engineering Wing. A second $1.5 million gift has been given anonymously to mechanical engineering to support an endowed professorship.

"The generosity of our alumni and friends continues to amaze me," said E. Dan Hirleman, the William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering. "We have raised $16 million, the private portion of the $33 million Roger B. Gatewood Mechanical Engineering Wing.

"Since 1999, our endowed professorships have increased from five to 15. In 2006 alone, we awarded $1.5 million in graduate and undergraduate scholarships."

Mike Thiele earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1963 from Purdue. He is a retired executive vice president and director for the Bechtel Group Inc. in Houston.

"I grew up in southern Illinois, and when I was in high school, the Shell Oil Co. initiated a competitive program to select two candidates from county high schools to participate in a co-op program between Shell and Purdue at Shell's Wood River, Ill., refinery," Mike Thiele said. "I had hoped to go to Purdue in any event, and it was a great opportunity when I was selected by Shell. It was a wonderful experience and laid the groundwork for my future."

After graduating from Purdue, he soon launched a 41-year career with the Bechtel Group, a global engineering, construction and project management company headquartered in San Francisco. While at Bechtel, he worked on or directed a multitude of engineering and construction projects in 20 countries on six continents. He resided in seven foreign countries for 20 years of his career.


Richard R. Kenyon
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Richard R. Kenyon of Huntington Beach, Calif., is providing a deferred gift to support interdisciplinary biological research in engineering and science. He earned a bachelor's degree in science in 1950 and master's and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering in 1951 and 1961, respectively, all from Purdue.

  "As a graduate student at Purdue, Richard taught the first computer course given for credit at the university and he understands the importance of being on the cutting edge of technology and research," said Mark Smith, the Michael J. and Katherine R. Birck Professor and head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "His gift will further our goals of fostering interdisciplinary research in this fast-growing biomedical field."

Kenyon said engineering and science will change the way most medicine is researched.

"I was around when the first computer came out - the Univac 1 - and look how the world has changed," Kenyon said. "I believe we will see the same type of growth in the way we research genome analysis and drug testing. Purdue is already a national leader in biological sciences, and I'd like my contribution to provide seed money that will attract more financial support for this field."


Robert and Janet Fenwick
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Robert and Janet Fenwick of Los Altos Hills, Calif., are giving $1.5 million to help fund the Seng-Liang Wang Hall of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Fenwick earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1958. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in the same field from Stanford University in 1959 and 1963, respectively.

"This gift will support the Robert and Janet Fenwick VLSI and Circuit Design Complex in the new hall," Smith said. "This complex and the new $20 million structure are keys to providing our students and researchers with the most current technology and facilities."

Robert Fenwick is the retired chairman and CEO of On Command Video in Santa Clara, Calif. The company, which makes video entertainment and information systems, was founded in 1986. Previously, he founded BR Communications, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., in 1966.

 Janet Fenwick graduated from Middlebury College in 1959 and earned her master's degree from Stanford University in 1960. She taught school for four years. She volunteers as a commissioner of Foothill College, the community college in Los Altos Hills, Calif., and serves on the board of directors for the Community School of Music and Art. She is active with Environmental Volunteers, an environmental group that teaches natural science education to school children, and with her area's Planned Parenthood advocates board. In 2006, she received the Los Altan of the Year award from the local newspaper.

"I started my own business just three years after acquiring my doctoral degree, and I would not have been able to do it without an excellent education," Robert Fenwick said. "This is our way of giving back."   

Bob and Ellie Shadley
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Bob and Ellie Shadley of Wayzata, Minn., are providing a $2.5 million deferred gift for the School of Industrial Engineering. The funds will support a $1.5 million endowed professorship, with the remainder going to undergraduate student scholarships.

"The School of Industrial Engineering is undertaking a $27 million campaign to increase the number of faculty, renovate facilities and provide more student scholarships," said Nagabhushana Prabhu, the James J. Solberg Head of Industrial Engineering. "Through support from alumni and friends like the Shadleys, we have raised $6.6 million in 2006 ­? the largest amount ever raised by our school in a single year."  

Bob Shadley earned bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering from Purdue in 1965 and 1966, respectively. He retired as a major general from the U.S. Army in 2000. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation's highest peacetime Army award. Currently, he is the senior vice president for force protection at Alliant Techsystems Inc., an  advanced weapons and space systems company in Plymouth, Minn.

Ellie Shadley attended Southern Illinois University and has been active in a number of organizations, including the Red Cross and the Officer Wives Club. She currently supports numerous charities, including the American Cancer Society and the Animal Humane Society.

"The disciplined problem-solving approaches I learned at Purdue have served me extremely well in both my military and civilian careers," Bob Shadley said. "Ellie is an integral part of our decision to give to Purdue. We both want to provide other young people with the same great experience that gave me the bedrock foundation needed for success.

"I feel proud to tell people I am an engineer from Purdue."

Other events taking place during Purdue's celebration of National Engineers Week include a talk by retired Gen. Colin Powell on Thursday (Feb. 22), recognition of the 2007 Purdue Distinguished Engineering Alumni on Friday (Feb. 23) and the Rube Goldberg Regional Machine Contest on Saturday (Feb. 24).

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192,

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

Leah Jamieson, (765) 494-53246,

Dan Hirleman, (765) 494-5688,

Mark Smith, (765) 494-3539,

Nagabhushana Prabhu, (765) 494-5444,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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