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March 2007

Dear Purdue Partners,

Two announcements in recent weeks have given me great hope for the future of Indiana.

First, I was delighted to introduce our first crop of Science Bound graduates to the Indianapolis community. These are students from Indianapolis Public Schools who made an investment with their parents, teachers and Purdue. Together, we worked to change their future, building a solid foundation for a college education. The first of the 66 students who entered the program in 2002 are now ready to graduate and attend Purdue next fall with full-tuition scholarships.

Second, we announced a future-changing partnership tied closely to strategic goals to advance Indiana's economy. Purdue has become the first public institution to partner with the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering. Our goal is nothing short of revolutionizing the way universities move products from conception in university laboratories to the health-care system.

These two initiatives may not sound similar, but they are calculated to benefit our state of Indiana. One develops talent and harnesses the dreams of our young people. The other creates the kind of jobs that will keep them in our state after they earn their university degrees.

Purdue's agreement with the Mann Foundation will create an endowment of $100 million to support an institute that will transfer research into products and help grow one of Indiana's signature economic sectors - biomedical devices. Our state, in fact, already ranks fourth in the nation in this field. With the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Development at Purdue, we will be able to give Indiana companies preference in developing our technology. In so doing, we will further grow this sector and the many support industries it will attract.

Both of these efforts - Science Bound and the Mann Institute - are carefully designed to make Indiana a better place to work and live.

I can assure you that Purdue has done its homework. We already know how to spin off high-tech jobs for Indiana. The explosion of our research park in West Lafayette and the creation of technology centers in northwest and southern Indiana demonstrate we can do this. But we think we can do it even better and faster with the expertise and capital that such an institute will attract.

It's a rather bold concept, a different way of doing business. But to be able to grow, we must adapt to new times, embrace new ideas. We must become more aggressively entrepreneurial.

One hundred thirty-eight years ago, a prominent entrepreneur, John Purdue, invested to create this land-grant university, a new model for its time. The mission was to expand people's access to a practical education with the ultimate goal of supporting economic growth. It is a model that has carried us through today.

We now live in a new century. Now other great entrepreneurs are investing in higher education. By supporting Science Bound and endowing the Alfred E. Mann Institute, they are investing in the future of Purdue, our students, faculty and state. They are helping us create new models for the 21st century.

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