Don and Liz Thompson, a couple with long ties to the Purdue University, have created 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 campus. The remaining $100,000 will go to the Minority Engineering Program. Both are Purdue graduates in electrical engineering (Don in 1984 and Liz in 1985) who were involved as students in the program. Don 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 said. “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.”
The gift was donated through the Purdue Day of Giving and will help ensure that the Minority Engineering Program will continue to help students in their pursuit of higher education. Started in 1974, MEP has been key to the graduation of nearly 3,000 underrepresented minority students at Purdue.
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.
“Liz and I have supported Purdue and MEP for many years because we truly believe all young people should have access to a quality engineering education, and we believe Purdue provides that at the highest levels,” Don Thompson said. “Today, we have a unique platform to broaden access for more African-American students, and we encourage other Purdue graduates to consider gifting to the university, as well.
“Our endowment will provide renewable scholarships to reduce the financial burdens that might otherwise prohibit access to a Purdue education. 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.”