2/5/21 Board of Trustees, Chairman Mike Berghoff

Mike Berghoff, the chair of the Purdue Board of Trustees, speaks at the meeting on Friday.

Purdue's Board of Trustees approved various motions during its meeting Friday morning, including an increase to the construction budget for the Bands and Orchestras building and the creation of a new online degree.

Online degree in nuclear engineering

The board also approved an online version of a Master of Nuclear Engineering degree. The program will consist of a 30-credit hour curriculum and will offer courses in the topics of nuclear materials and fusion, among others.

The Bureau of Labor statistics projects a 4% increase in the need for nuclear engineers from now to 2026, according to Purdue's College of Engineering website. But the most recent BLS numbers project a 13% decrease in the employment of nuclear engineers from 2019 to 2029, as utilities often choose to use cheaper natural gas to generate power.

Professor Seungjin Kim, head of the Nuclear Engineering department, expressed the need for more degrees in nuclear engineering, due in part to concerns about national security.

“We think this is a very essential program for Purdue and the nation,” he said.

Band and Orchestra building budget increased

The new Purdue Bands and Orchestras building that is under construction will cost more than initially expected, due to higher bid costs.

“The revised estimated total cost of this project is 22 million dollars,” said Michael Cline, the senior vice president for administrative operations. The original cost was projected to be $20 million, according to February Purdue news release.

Cline said gifted donations will be used to cover the additional cost.

The Bands and Orchestras program has operated in Elliott Hall since 1940, according to a Purdue press release.

The new facility will be named after Marc and Sharon Hagle Hall, in honor of their $10 million gift from the March and Sharon Hagle Charitable Foundation. An additional $10 million fundraising campaign from private donors is now underway.

Hagle Hall, which broke ground in November on the corner of 3rd and North Russell Street, will be a four-story facility with 37,500-square-feet and is expected to be finished in December 2021, Cline said.

Professors receive special honors

Barry Pittendrigh was appointed as the John V. Osmun Chair in Urban Entomology. Akridge said he is returning to Purdue from Michigan State University.

“Thank you very much for the kind words, and I also appreciate the support of the board,” Pittendrigh said. “I’m looking forward to returning home.”

Margo Monteith, a professor of psychology, was ratified as a distinguished professor of psychological sciences.

"I am tremendously grateful for this honor," she said, thanking Purdue President Mitch Daniels and Akridge, as well as her parents and graduate adviser.

Monteith, a member of Purdue's Equity Task Force, studies stereotypes and prejudice and spoke about how unconscious biases and stereotypes affect individuals.

Posthumous degree approved

The board approved a posthumous Bachelor of Science degree in computer graphics technology to Amber Simler, a late student at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute in New Albany, Indiana.

Simler died at a New Albany hospital in November at age 21, according to her online obituary.

She was a “talented, meticulous and hard-working student,” Provost Jay Akridge said.

“Always sorry to hear the passing of members of our Purdue family,” Trustee JoAnn Brouillette added.

Other news

Rhonda Phillips, the dean of the Honors College, gave an update on the Honors College, which she said has received a record number of applications. The college can take in about 750 new students each fall and has much more demand than room to place students. 

Two facilities, the Dr. Jon C. Taenzer Floor in Chaney-Hale Hall of Science and the Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex, were officially named.

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