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* Jischke to class of 2007: 'We're graduating with you'
* Purdue graduates to take part in commencement ceremonies
* Martin C. Jischke
* Patty Jischke
* Purdue to celebrate Jischke's accomplishments

May 12, 2007

University says 'Hail Purdue' with honorary degrees for Jischkes

McGinley presents
degrees to Jischkes

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In a surprise to Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke and his wife, Patty, the university awarded them honorary doctorate degrees during commencement ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. Saturday (May 12).

Martin Jischke received a doctor of engineering degree from the College of Engineering, and Patty Jischke was awarded a doctor of information literacy degree from Purdue Libraries during the second of four commencement ceremonies that began Friday (May 11) and end Sunday (May 13).

Martin Jischke is retiring this summer after seven years as Purdue's president. He was the 10th president in the university's 138-year history.

"With all they have done for Purdue University, there is no better way to honor them," said J. Timothy McGinley, chairman of Purdue's board of trustees. "President Jischke has accomplished so much in his seven years here. But more than that, Martin and Patty have been outstanding representatives of Purdue and tremendous assets to the state of Indiana.

"They have certainly earned a special place in the history of Purdue, and it is fitting that they receive the highest honor the university can bestow."

Martin Jischke arrived at Purdue in August 2000 and led the university through a strategic plan. Under his leadership, the university is nearing completion of its Campaign for Purdue, which so far has brought in $1.64 billion in private gifts. In carrying out the strategic plan, he oversaw the university's undertaking of more than 50 capital projects, including construction of 40 new buildings. Among those construction projects was the $350 million Discovery Park, Purdue's hub for interdisciplinary research that is home to 10 primary centers focusing on everything from biosciences, the environment and manufacturing to oncological sciences, cyberinfrastructure and health-care engineering.

On Tuesday (May 8) he received the International Citizen of the Year award during a ceremony in Indianapolis. The executive committee of the International Center of Indianapolis nominated him based on his "tremendous leadership in making global connections for Indiana."

He also has earned numerous honors and distinctions during the course of his Purdue years. In 2006 he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also received the Centennial Medallion of the American Society for Engineering Education.

He has served on numerous civic, state and corporate boards and has been a science adviser and consultant to a range of state and federal agencies, corporations and government officials, including a term as a White House fellow and special assistant to the secretary of transportation.

Jischke received his bachelor's degree in physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He came to Purdue from Iowa State University, where he had served as its president for nine years. Before that, he was chancellor at the University of Missouri-Rolla and had been a faculty member, director, dean and interim president at the University of Oklahoma.

Patty Jischke was designated by the board of trustees as "Ambassador for the President of Purdue University," signifying her significant roles. She helped organize and plan events and has served in leadership capacities for several organizations.

A lawyer and member of the Oklahoma Bar Association since 1975, she also has actively served the community in several capacities and is active on the state and national levels. Among her many involvements, she has served on the Trinity Nursing Center for Infant Health board, the board of directors of the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette and the Indiana Youth Institute. She was vice president of the Greater Lafayette Community Development Corp. and was a founding board member of the Dog Park Association of Greater Lafayette.

Patty Jischke also initiated a research study to measure the impact of reading to children in child care centers. Wherever she goes, she recruits readers for the study and a broader Ready to Read program that she plans to launch. She has said she looks forward to devoting more time to expanding Ready to Read and wants to develop a template for other communities to use.

She served on the boards of Heifer Project International and later the Heifer International Foundation for a total of 12 years. The Heifer initiatives help people around the world obtain a sustainable source of food and income, with the goal of ending hunger.

She holds a degree in social work, a master's degree in library science, and a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.

Writer: Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077,

Source: Jim Vruggink, director of special projects, (765) 494-2086,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke (center) and his wife, Patty, receive honorary doctorate degrees from Tim McGinley, president of the Purdue Board of Trustees, during the Saturday morning commencement ceremony on the West Lafayette campus. Jischke is retiring after a 48-year career in higher education, the last seven of which were spent as Purdue's president. Martin received an honorary doctorate of engineering from the College of Engineering. Patty, whom the board of trustees had designated as the "Ambassador for the President of Purdue University," received a doctorate of information literacy from the Purdue Libraries. The honors were awarded as a surprise to the Jischkes. (Purdue News Service photo/Dave Umberger)

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