Newsroom Search Newsroom home Newsroom Archive
Purdue News

* Purdue launches $304 million drive for scholarships, programs

April 9, 2008

$42 million raised toward Purdue's $304 million Access and Success Campaign

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A professor, two Purdue alumni and a friend of the university have stepped forward to fund scholarships in a variety of disciplines, helping launch the university's new $304 million Access and Success Campaign.

The university has raised more than $42 million toward the fundraising goal since July 1, 2007, President France A. Córdova announced at a news conference Wednesday (April 9).

The most recent donations include a gift from Purdue biological sciences professor Cynthia Stauffacher, who leads the Purdue Cancer Center's Chemical and Structural Biology Program.

The other gifts are designated for scholarships in specific Purdue colleges or schools. Charles Wallrodt of Glen Ellyn, Ill., has contributed $5 million for electrical and computer engineering. Patricia Schreiner of West Lafayette has donated $1.8 million to physics. Judith Heisserman of Fairland, Ind., is providing a deferred gift to the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Córdova said the donors share a common passion for the success and welfare of students.

"These donations showcase the ability of the friends and family of Purdue to come together to better meet the needs of our students," Córdova said. "Thanks to their generosity, students in a variety of disciplines and from a broad spectrum of backgrounds will not only be able to attend Purdue, but also be able to graduate with fewer financial obligations. We are thankful for these gifts."

Stauffacher, whose work centers on the structure of biological molecules involved in human disease, said contributing to the campaign was a natural step for her as a professor and mentor of students.

Cynthia Stauffacher
Download photo

"Our students are our highest priority at Purdue," Stauffacher said. "I am pleased to be able to support their careers and progress at the university. Giving them a helping hand ensures that they can concentrate their efforts on their intellectual growth and academic success at Purdue. It is an investment in the future of our state, the nation and the world."

Stauffacher earned her doctoral degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1977 after completing her bachelor's degree at the University of Denver in 1970.

She is head of the Markey Center for Structural Biology and a member of the advisory board for the Bindley Bioscience Center. She is investigating how cancer spreads at the molecular level.

Her research focuses on the examination of the structure and function of proteins that play important roles in diseases such as cancer, heart disease and resistant bacterial infections. A clearer understanding of how such proteins function could enable the design of more targeted and effective treatments for these human diseases.

In addition to her role at the cancer center, Stauffacher is a member of the Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Science Ph.D. Program, a new approach to interdisciplinary graduate study, also known as PULSe. She is the program director of the Purdue Molecular Biophysics Training Grant, which supports graduate students in her field, has formerly chaired the education committee for both the American Crystallographic Association and the Biophysical Society, and is currently a member of the National Science Foundation's Molecular Biochemistry Review Panel.

Stauffacher was honored as a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in 2000 and awarded the Purdue Cancer Center Excellence in Research Award in 2001.

Charles "Chuck" Wallrodt earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1963. Wallrodt began work at Western Electric the same year and remained with the company through several mergers, first with AT&T and later Lucent Technologies. He retired from Lucent after more than 36 years as a product manager.

Charles Wallrodt
Download photo

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Wallrodt served his country both stateside in Arizona and for one year in Saigon, Vietnam. His unit was responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of military communications systems in that country.

Wallrodt's deferred gift will establish a scholarship for Illinois natives. He said the gift is both a testament to his time at Purdue and a helping hand for out-of-state students.

"We were just beginning to transition into some cutting-edge technology when I attended Purdue," Wallrodt said. "We were moving from the old ways to the new transistors, and I took a class on that my senior year and loved it.

"Because I was an out-of-state student, I recognized that finances were a problem for some of my peers. There are plenty of people in Illinois that want to go to Purdue, and I am pleased that I am now in a position to help them over that financial hump so they can focus on the next new technology."

Gary Wright and Patricia Schreiner
Download photo

Schreiner, who completed her bachelor's degree in political science at Purdue in 1976, has made a $1.8 million deferred pledge to establish the Gary L. Wright Fellowship in Physics in honor of her husband of 18 years.

Schreiner worked in Chicago in the insurance business for 11 years before returning to West Lafayette to marry Wright.

Wright, who first earned his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Purdue in 1971, went on to obtain both his master's and doctoral degrees from the university in 1970 and 1976, respectively. A Lafayette native, he worked at the university in the area of information technology for 33 years until his death. Wright began his career at Purdue as a physics major, but changed his direction after becoming involved with the peace movement.

"I think Gary changed majors so that he could devote more time to his non-academic activities, but he always regretted not getting his physics degree," Schreiner said. "Establishing this fellowship in physics will accomplish two goals for me. It will ensure that Gary's name is forever tied to physics at Purdue, and it will help a deserving graduate student be able to focus on his or her research without worrying about money and living expenses."

In addition to her $1.8 million deferred gift, Schreiner will contribute $25,000 toward the scholarship annually, and the remainder of the gift will revert to the university upon her death.

Heisserman's deferred gift will fund a scholarship in the area of large-animal medicine for students pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

After earning her bachelor's degree in animal science from Penn State University in 1962, she began work at Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis. Working primarily in diabetes research, Heisserman retired from Lilly in 1998 with more than 36 years of service.

An animal lover, she began raising small dogs in the early 1960s. During that decade, she bought her first horse and eventually expanded her interest in horses into raising Egyptian Arabians. In the early 1970s, she bought 10 acres in Shelby County and took the name Cloud Nine Arabians for her horse-raising venture. She added Dorset sheep to her animal ownership a few years later and maintained a small flock until 2006.

Heisserman's deferred gift will establish the Cloud Nine Veterinary Scholarship for students pursuing large-animal medicine who are willing to practice in rural settings. Students interested in equine and small-animal medicine also could be considered.

"Having raised large animals for much of my life, I've seen the issue of the declining number of large-animal veterinarians firsthand," Heisserman said. "It is my hope that this gift will benefit both students and the types of large animals I so enjoyed spending my free time with as well."

Writer: Tanya Brown, (765) 494-2079,

Sources:France A. Córdova, (765) 494-9708

Joseph L. Bennett, (765) 494-2082,

Cynthia Stauffacher, (765) 494-4937,

Charles Wallrodt, (630) 469-6162

Patricia Schreiner, (765) 743-8846

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

To the News Service home page

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue News Service at