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Couple Gives $1M To Purdue Minority Engineering Program

April 30, 2018
Don and Liz Thompson create a $1 million endowment for the College of Engineering, $900,000 of which will go toward scholarships for minority engineering students and the remaining $100,000 will go to the Minority Engineering Program.

Don and Liz Thompson

A couple with long ties to Purdue University, Don and Liz Thompson create a $1 million endowment for the College of Engineering, $900,000 of which will go toward scholarships for minority engineering students at the West Lafayette, Indiana campus. The remaining $100,000 will go to the Minority Engineering Program. The Thompsons are Purdue electrical engineering graduates. Don Thompson has also served as a Purdue trustee since 2009.

“Purdue University, and specifically the Minority Engineering Program (MEP), opened doors of opportunity for Liz and me,” Don Thompson says. “Those doors, and God’s grace, ultimately led to successful careers that yielded economic opportunities to enable us to do what we’re doing today. Not only did we meet at Purdue through the program, but MEP helped shape our grit and perseverance – first through the summer engineering camps and then through the support it offered in response to academically challenging courses. At every step, they were there for us and now we want to pay it forward.”

The gift, donated through the Purdue Day of Giving, counts toward “Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University” and will help ensure that the Minority Engineering Program will continue to help students in their pursuit of higher education, according to the university. Started in 1974, MEP has been key to the graduation of nearly 3,000 underrepresented minority students at Purdue. Many other colleges across the nation have reportedly adopted Purdue’s MEP model. The gift will also support MEP programs such as the Engineering Academic Boot Camp, a program developed in 2005 to improve the transition of underrepresented engineering students into the campus culture.

“Our endowment will provide renewable scholarships to reduce the financial burdens that might otherwise prohibit access to a Purdue education,” says Don Thompson. “We also support critical programming through MEP that prepares underrepresented students throughout their STEM education and beyond. We are honored and blessed to partner with the Purdue Research Foundation to support the university’s efforts to attract African-American scholars to the College of Engineering and for the opportunity to develop future generations of Boilermakers.” 

Read more about the endowment here: www.purdue.edu

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