[ music ] >>about 50 years before oldjohn purdue came to indiana from ohio, american troopsfought the kickapoo indians in the battle of tippecanoe. their victory won the landthat became west lafayette and made it possible to formpurdue university in 1869. one hundred years later,purdue was yet again the site of a major battle of ideals. a small group of determinedstudents banded together
to demand change. armed with bricks alone,not to break but to build, speaking truth to power, theychanged the course of history and rebuilt the foundationsof purdue one brick at a time. this is their story. if you've ever been theonly one of your kind, maybe it was your gender fromwhere you came or your race that gave you the painfulfeeling of isolation. the black purdue experiencegrows out of that feeling.
and so it goes, that in thebeginning there was only one. in the early years atpurdue, being black meant that you were among the first,the few or the forgotten. two decades laterwith the attack on pearl harbor the nationcalled and blacks answered. >>wave after wave of enemyplanes bombed american aircraft and units of the pacificfleet in a treacherous attack to achieve perfecttactical surprise. >>the war department, in orderto satisfy the increasing demand
for officers, created theelite navy v-12 program on 131 u.s. college campuses. blacks entered themilitary in record numbers. purdue's west lafayette campus, chosen for its superiorengineering and technical curriculumsoon became training grounds for officers. even though newly enlistedblacks were overwhelmingly restricted to lowranking positions,
there was soon an exception. frederick branch became thefirst african-american officer in the united statesmarine corp in 1945. but while the navy v-12 programbrought minor racial problems, it also brought painfulcontradictions. while black soldiers lived innewly built military barracks on the campus of purdue, no black student wasallowed dormitory housing. >>when i arrived in,at purdue in 1942,
i went through theregistration line and one of the first personsi saw was a counselor. he took one look at me and saidyou don't belong at purdue. you're not college material. being black at purdue, we werejust on the edge of everything. we weren't involved in anyof the student organizations. the atmosphere wascompletely different then. >>we could not livein west lafayette, but a two white clergyman setup an international house.
>>for black male students,the only place on campus to sleep was theinternational house. a small home reservedfor students from foreign countriesand negros. residents hailed from as faraway as czechoslovakia, korea, indonesia, china,uruguay and gary, indiana. for black female students theonly housing was miles away accessible by foot in themost undesirable parts of west lafayette.
>>when my sister and icame to purdue in 1946 and we could notlive on the campus. >>frieda's father, fredparker sent a letter to president hovde seeking on campus housingfor his daughters. hovde denied theiradmission to the dormitory. disheartened, mr. parker thensought out favor in [inaudible], secretary of the colored branchof the senate avenue ymca in indianapolis andthe black power broker.
on behalf of the parker girls,he assembled a motley crew of concerned citizens to paya visit to an old friend, indiana governor, ralph gateswho in turn pressured purdue. >>we received a letterfrom the dean of women who did everything she couldto discourage us from coming and living on the campus short of telling us how muchhappier we would be and how the people wouldn'tspeak to us and, you know, the same old thing all the time.
we didn't believe them anyway. so we were admittedto the dormitory. >>the spring semesterof 1947 marked the end of housing discriminationat purdue along with the four newestcolored residents of bunker hill werethe parker girls. >>the student union building hada barber shop but we could not, they would not cut negrostudents hair there. so the late judge a. aloyisushigginbotham and i went
to the president and weprotested to him that we wanted to get our haircutsin west lafayette. >>in order to get a haircutblack male students would drive an hour south of purdue in order to find a local coloredbarbershop in indianapolis. >>and he listened to us verypatiently, then he said, well we'll put a pair ofhair clippers in the service and storage buildingand you can check them out and cut your hair.
so that was sucha slap in the face that leon higginbothambecame a federal judge, an eagle scholar went on tooberlin to finish his education. >>while the minor gains of prioryears were a source of pride to many, for future generations of black purdue studentsthey were barely enough. with a new generationcame a whole new mindset. a new negro was comingto purdue. >>a new negro is a personwith a new sense of dignity
and destiny, witha new self respect. along with that isthis like a [inaudible] which once characterizedthe negro, this willingness to stand up courageously. >>gradual racialprogress now gave way to frustration anddiscontentment. social unrest was in the air. the nation was at war. the civil rights movementwas in full throttle.
the boiler was soon to erupt. >>when i came to purduein the fall of 1965, it was a very large campus,lots of red brick buildings, lots of white people andfinally saw some black folks and that was like very exciting because there werevery few of us. i was told that we, in1965, the total population of the school was 18,000 and of that supposedly 100black students and of
that supposedly 20black females. i never knew morethan 10 black females. and there probably were100 students, most of them that were black were eitherathletes or engineering students or pharmacy majors andsome science majors. >>well, i came to purdueuniversity as a student in 1966. the climate was oneof ultraconservatism. i mean there weremany challenges for african-americanscoming to this institution.
the biggest challenge was,there were very few people who looked like me here. it was a big university atthat time which probably of neighborhood of 20,000but when you looked around, you didn't see verymany people like me. most of the students who werehere who were white people or were athletes likemyself [inaudible] on the football team. but as time went on we began torealize, it was important for us
to overcome the battle,overcoming the obstacles that we had to face,and there were many, there were many things thatwe couldn't do in this campus, on this campus, in thiscommunity that other people did without any problem whatsoever. >>the thing i think that'sprobably difficult for people to understand now about the60s is how rapidly things were changing, even at purdue. and i say, even at purdue,
because purdue wasa very traditional and very conservative school. i mean when i gotthere, you know, what you noticed wasthe football team, the world's largest drum, thecheerleaders, the fraternities and sororities, the engineeringstudents carrying their slide rules on their belts,that's, you know, the technologicalgeneration ago. it was very traditional.
and by 1968 and 69, imean there were days when you might have thoughtyou were at berkley or madison, wisconsin to seethe demonstrations that were taking place. >>now, there was aviet nam war going on and the news was constantlyplaying all those casualties. and then all of a sudden itbegan to report the unrest by the populationparticularly younger people, folks who started tocall themselves hippies.
other universities thatstarted to have demonstrations, some violent, some non-violent. purdue was probably one of thelast campuses to show any level of unrest by any student. >>visiting speakers oncampus were electrifying and thought provoking. jesse jackson, dick gregoryand the indianapolis chapter of the black pantherparty were among them. black students at purduewere reeling and listening
to messages of protest. they organized the negrohistory study group which eventually becamethe black student union to discuss growing frustrations. >>we got a number ofmeetings in stewart center to discuss demands as wehad as black students. about that time was when westarted calling ourselves black as opposed to negro. no more tolerating that.
>>one of the things that cameout of that was an attitude of us black studentsthat we've been ignored, we haven't been providedwith the kind of resources that the general studentbody has been provided with and we think we oughtto be recognized. >>just one month after theassignation of dr. king, the students emerged with theirown non-violent plan advised by marine veteran bob jonesand two visionary leaders, sophomore, homer larue andjunior, linda jo mitchell.
it was an overcastmay morning in 1968. one hundred and twenty ninestudents armed with a list of nine demands assembledat the steps of the administration building. >>the day of the march, we hadalready been told that we needed to get a brown paper bagand find a red brick. purdue was red brickbuildings, everywhere. so we each got our brick, putit in our little paper bag, we assembled in stewart centerand we got in a single line.
>>each of us went to abrickyard and got a brick. and there was actuallyconstruction project going on campus that madeit convenient for us. but we all picked upa brick and we marched from the union building,the normal center for student activity, in a straight line,no one said a word. >>with our red bricks in ourbrown paper bags, one by one, to hovde hall, which is themain administration building
where the president and otherhigher level officers had offices, in single file,quietly and many people with dark sunglasses on, youknow, it's real cool back then. walked single file, quietlyto hovde hall and one by one, we place, took our red bricksout of our brown paper bags and one by one wewalked up the steps and put a brick on the steps. >>and on the first levelplatform, we laid a pile of bricks right down infront of the building.
it was an amazing experiencebecause as we looked into the windows therewas people in all of the windows watchingthis student group march on the administration building. >>i remember the demonstrationas being very moving, it was very well organized. the students were quiet,they were dignified. well the two organizers of thedemonstration, linda jo mitchell and homer larue, knew me andsort of knew where i stood.
and by this time they knewthat the exponent was sort of a real student newspaper, notjust the public relations organ that the universitywanted us to be. so they gave us a heads up thatthis demonstration would take place so that we wouldmake sure we, you know, had a reporter there,photographer there. they put this sign on the stepsof the administration building, they filed by one at a time,carefully laid their bricks at the base of the sign.
it was a very powerfuldemonstration. i can remember it, you know, you looked up at theadministration building and there were headspeeping out the windows from behind the curtains. and i think there was a certainamount of fear on the part of the people in theadministration building about, you know, what was maybegoing to happen next. >>so we laid thebricks down in front
of the administrationbuilding on the stairs. we placed a sign in it. the sign said, [inaudible]next time. >>one year after theprotest, on march 20th, 1969 the student newspaper, the purdue exponent publisheda six page black supplement. inside there was afull page investigation into the progress made on the black student demandspresented the previous year.
the article was entitled,"the demands and the answers". the integration ofhistory courses resulted in a single class taughtby a white professor who had a hard timesaying the word, negro. on the integration ofstudent organizations, the article stated, "blacksremained conspicuously absent". on the inclusion of black arts, the music department hadonly entertained the idea of a jazz course.
no list on discriminatoryhousing was ever produced. and the course taught by lindajo mitchell was discontinued. regretfully, after one year verylittle had actually changed. by the 60s, purdue had begunto recruit black athletes like all american leroy keyes and trackman ericmckaskell [assumed spelling]. >>as an athlete youwere somewhat in like a little specialcategory, you know, looked up to in a certain way especiallyif you were a star athlete.
but the extent of other thingsin terms of social and otherwise that was total different,different story. our freshman year in 65 thecount was 100 brothers and or was it, i knew itwas 120 total and, and, the sisters were very, very,very slim, i mean in terms of numbers, in terms of numbers. and so that meant that if youwere a freshman brother you, you know, you were just out ofit, you know, because, you know, the ladies looked atthe upper classmen.
and forget quote, unquote, talking to whitegirls like that. that was an unwrittenrule that you keep your, especially if you were anathlete coming from the south, keep you nose clean, you know, play whatever sportyou do, [inaudible]. >>well life as anathlete was life that i would say wasenjoyable from the standpoint that physical activitycan take away frustration.
everybody has frustration. and the frustration that wehad to deal with would build up during the course ofthe day or in the evening after practice kindof dissipated when you were student athlete. you know, you had an opportunity to physically get itout of your system. also, the fact thatwe were individuals that the communityadmired from the standpoint
that we were doingpositive, something positive for their teams made it aneasier place for an athlete to be versus an individual whois a black and only a student. >>the black athleteat purdue became vital to the student movementlending their local celebrity to the cause often raising theprofile of student protests. black athletes werehistorically among the first to break racial barriersat purdue. herman murray, the first blackboilermaker on the grid iron.
ernie hall in the same yearchanged life on the hardwood in boilermaker basketballforever. lamar lundy, who in 1957became the only boilermaker to win both mvp of the football and basketball teamsin the same years. one of purdue's first blackcheerleaders, pam king, drew more jeers than cheerswith her afro and clenched fist. even all-american leroy keyesfound his bravery challenged both on and off the field.
leroy played and protested much like his high school rivaleric mckaskell who was soon to learn the high cost of taking on the stringent groomingpolicy of purdue athletics. >>this was my senior yearand i had gotten injured and so i wasn't, you know, avalue so, at least in my mind. because if you couldn't run,you know, what was your value. and i was concerned whether or not i'd stillhad my scholarship.
but there was seven of uson the team and we decided that if we wanted towear a mustache we could. you know, becausefrom our culture that was just a statement,you know, i mean, that was just something thatafrican-american men did. so we got togetherand said look, we're going to make astand and we're not going to shave our mustaches off. >>purdue's track team had alongstanding uniform policy
requiring runners toremain clean shaven. but within purdue'sturbulent climate and an evolving racial identityblack runners decided to stand up and put their razors down. >>in our thinking thiswas in the spring of 69, so the 68 olympicsalready happened. and when we saw carlosand tommy smith do that, do the black fist thing. and we looked up tothese guys, you know,
because i mean they were thebomb as you would say it. when they made that stand,you know, we said, wow, man, they stood up against theestablishment, man, you know, an american national anthem. and it just affected our psyche. and then back in aprilof 68 we were running at the kentucky relays atthe university of kentucky and that's when we heardthat dr. king was assonated. and man, it, you know,we started crying.
i, i'm just going back andplaying it over in my mind. man that had justhit us that man, this guy was a peacefuldude, you know, peaceful man and somebody killed him. so we felt that wehad to make a stand. you know, that weweren't going do, quote, unquote the whitemans thing any longer. i mean we were going to do whatwe required but we were going to do what we culturallyknew was our identity.
yeah, so it was building up. all that was goingon during that time, it was building up,it was building up. and so when we showed up atthe airport three did shave and four didn't. and the assistant coachsaid here you guys, you know, you all can't go. i said, what you mean we can'tgo, you know, and he said, you know, shave your mustaches.
i was injured anyway so iwasn't, i was mainly there to support of jimmyand, and them. and [inaudible] i saidlook man, i'm a senior man but these guys arejuniors man, they need. and they said, nothey're not going. and i said man, if i had a bombthere i'd blow the [inaudible]. and the next thing i knew,the fbi was on the scene and i was definitely terrified because i didn't know whatthey were going to do.
they could have doneanything, you know, they could have trumpedthe charges up, they could have arrested me,they could have done anything. after interrogating me thatfound that okay, this is, you know, a young guy,[inaudible] statement and he's not a terrorist. and so i was released from that. shortly thereafter, the statepolice, two officers come up and they arrest me fordisorderly conduct.
when i was arrested andthe news hit the students, i was set for a courtappearance. it was a rallying pointbecause prior to that, you know, the silent protest andthere was like a lull. >>the arrest of 22 year old ericmckaskell galvanized the black student body like never before. with the help of purdue'sfirst black professor, helen bass williams, thestudents organized a march into the town of lafayette.
>>court appearancewas on monday. we organized, met at thestudent union, 100 students and we marched from the studentunion, also wabash river, wabash bridge to lafayette, fromwest lafayette to lafayette. when i got to thecourtroom coming up the stairs i stillremember, i mean, it, a guy from a cbs affiliate inindianapolis interviewed me. and i said, "i'mcalling in the, you know, the law because oftrumped up charge"
and so i was giventhe nation time. and we go make our way intothe courtroom and it's jammed. i ain't never seen thatmany black folk in one room in the courtroom where thedistrict attorney questioned me and he recommended to the judge that this case be[inaudible] evidence. and so it was dismissed andafter that, we just shouted. >>as the march continuedback to campus, the focus quickly returned tothe administration building.
this time students wentbeyond the building steps and silence was replacedwith urgency and passion. >>and as we weregoing up to the steps of the administration building into the main lobby thisis what we were singing. we asked, we're here to seepresident hovde and as we went up to his office, you know,his secretary was kind of caught off guard, she didn'tknow what we were going to do. and i said, "we're hereto see president hovde"
and she said, "wellhe's not here." so well we want to talkto him, we need to talk to president hovde and shesaw that we meant business. and she got him on the phone. i said, "president hovde,this is eric again." i said, there was previouscommunication and we're here to say that they'recertain demands that have not been fulfilled. and i made it clear to presidenthovde that this had nothing
to do with the athleticincident. this is, this is new business. this is the business thatwe talked about [inaudible], you know, a year laterwith the list of demands. plus, a place wherewe can gather as african-american students. >>this time presidenthovde got the message. there was no delay in action. he appointed a specialcommittee to look
into black studentproblems right away. in a fateful move, thestudent committee headed by eric mckaskell made onesmall change to their requests. they wanted a special place asa permanent part of campus life. >>damn, i wish there wassomewhere i could go and rap with some brothers and sisters. >>a black culturalcenter should be a place where black culture is madeboth physical and viable. >>on june 6, 1969 the board
of trustees unanimouslyaccepted the development program for black students, afive year initiative. in the fall of the 1970semester saw the opening of the black cultural center. there was now a home withina home for black students. it was also a repositoryof black culture for the larger purdue communityand soon became fertile ground for the development and supportof programs and organizations that would enrich campuslife for decades to come.
>>and we, the black house,the black cultural center, commonly known as theblack house was kind of place of refuge. it was a place where youreally got a taste of home and, you know, i really hadn'tbeen big on history. and there, there were a lotof historical artifacts, a lot of books andmagazines about black history. it was a whole environment of,you know, malcom and martin and mohammad and all those
and it was encouragingand nourished there. tony zamora [assumedspelling] was the head of the, the executive director ofthe black house at that time. and he was very personable,into jazz music, just a real cool brother soi related to him very well. stark contrast tothe academic side so during the morning you'd goto class and you could get beat up in physics 151 and 152, runby the black house to get kind of a break to kind of rechargeand then jump back in there
so you could hitchemistry 230 or 240. >>boy, i mean to actuallysee what our vision was, to come into fruitionwas awesome. because here, you know,we were 20, 18, 19, 20, 21 year old students. but to see this housecome about was awesome. >>hallelujah, thankgod, we showed them, [inaudible] start singing. >>on the other side of campus,dean john day was also working
to create opportunitiesfor black students. in the krannert schoolof management with bop, the business opportunitiesprogram. his most valuable recruit camein 1970, a high school principal from gary, indiana,dr. cornell bell. over the next three decades,dr. bell recruited, mentored and advised over 800 students through the businessopportunities program. he was a special manwith a gift to inspire.
>>in the 70s at purdue,we were right after 1968 which was a very difficultyear for african-americans. dr. king was killed, bobbykennedy was killed, tommy smith and john carlos did theirsalute at the olympics so everybody was consciousof race as we moved out the late 60s into early 70s,the krannert school of business at purdue starteda program to lure and entice youngafrican-americans to go into business.
my company is composed of19 mcdonalds restaurants, i have 750 employeesand we have gross sales of plus 40 million dollarsapproaching 50 million dollars. and it's, if i look at thebackground that i picked up from krannert, it was theanalytical skills to look at the p and l's and reallyunderstand the infrastructure of the business modelfrom a quantitative basis. so it's great to be associated with this world classelite academic institution.
>>in 1974, the engineeringdepartment gave birth to the minority engineeringprogram and appointed anenterprising young purdue alumni to head the program,marion blalock. >>as coordinator of minorityengineering programs, as i was, there were some thingsthat were already in place. they were a result of themarch that we'd done in 1968 and they had begun to develop. so we were experimentingwith various programs.
we did some outreach programs,we went to the students where they were and we hadsome onsite campus visits where we would bringthe students to us and they would spend a week ortwo or three days on campus get to meet other black students. >>over the next 35 years,marion would be responsible for graduating over2,000 students through the minorityengineering program. however, in 1974 the departmenthad not yet seen the likes
of an ambitious youngstreet smart kid from chicago named tony. >>the engineering department,being black in the school of engineering was again,very, very challenging. in high school i'd always beenvery good in math, did real well on the sats and the acts. i was very confident in myability to perform in class. i could, can kind ofcharm my way through and not really haveto work that hard.
when i got to purdue though, it was a very differentenvironment. my academic advisorthere suggested that since we hadn'thad calculus, calculus wasn't offered in[inaudible] high school and most of the engineering studentshad calculus already, they suggested well maybe youshould take a remedial math curriculum and ifyou did that you had to take a remedial physicsand chemistry curriculum
because they came as a package. i wasn't having it. i'm taking regularmath no matter what. well if you do that you'vegot to take regular physics, regular chemistry, so be it. so i remember the first day ofcalculus 161, we get into class and a couple otherstudents that had gone to west lafayette high schoolsaid, hey [inaudible] look, it's the same textbookthat we had in high school.
i'm thinking, oh,oh, trouble here. and i [inaudible] again to understand whatthey were talking about in terms of preparedness. but ed barnett andother black students in engineering there knew thiswas going to be an issue for us so they invited us to theirstudy session and encourage us and really helped tutor us. so one of the advantages thati had and that my group had was
that several of uswere from chicago. in fact five us were fromthe same high school. and, you know, we werethe cool guys on campus. we even carried littlebusiness cards that said, we sooth, we charm, we satisfy. it had a top hat,cane and gloves on it. and we all had nicknames. i was known as tony rome becausei wore this stingy brimmed dives hat that frank sinatra hadworn in his movie "tony rome."
anyway, sad story. but we all had the chicago look,we wore the silk and wool pants and the black sweatersand we danced, we bopped which is notcalled a step but we bopped and we were really good at it. and when we would go out toa party, we made a presence. we were pretty generallyrecognized as being different from the other studentson campus. >>anthony harris was one of agroup called the chicago six.
the chicago six consisted ofanthony harris, ed coleman, brian harris, john logan,stan curtley and george smith. they were all fromthe chicago area. most of them i believe wentto lynn bloom high school. tony was sort of thehead guy of the group. he was a pusher, mover, shaker. tony when graduatedfrom purdue in '75 went on to harvard business school. so you could sort of get a feelfor the kind of man tony was.
>>my experience withthe american society of mechanical engineers gaveme an opportunity to travel to different campuses, to goto professional conferences. even had an opportunity to go to the national conventionin new york city. and kind of had a chance tomeet other black students from other universitiesthat were at these meetings. and kind of talk aboutwouldn't this be great if there was moreafrican-american participation.
when i went back thento the black society of engineers i kind ofbrought these ideas with me and pitched themto my roommates. you know, wouldn'tit be something if our organization was moreglobal, more international and had more reach andmore scale and more scope. again, there was a lot ofconsciousness in the air, there was, the voices ofmalcom and martin were there and there was a lot of studentprotests that we'd heard
about prior to our arrival. i think i was becoming consciousas opposed to it being all about me and all about us withour little group, it became all about us with the[inaudible] a bigger group. we saw that there weren'tvery many black students reticulating, thatthe black students that were there weren'tgraduating, that there was no black faculty, and that blacks once theygraduated some were struggling
with getting jobs. and as i traveled aroundwith the american society of mechanical engineersthis story was the same all over the country. and i thought, you know, wereally could do something about this if we could structurethis thing and organize it. and the american society of mechanical engineerswas a great template. so i pitched it and it sold.
>>with the help ofpresident hansen, the purdue nsbe chapterprepared to host representatives from 80 collegesand universities. tony and his six friends fromchicago desperately wanted to create a nationalengineering organization. >>they got with presidenthansen here at purdue. dr. hansen wrote a letterout to the presidents of many universities acrossthe country and encouraged them to allow someone from theirschool to come to purdue
and discuss the ideafor a national body. and it was that invitation thatattracted students from all over the country, as far awayas canada, to come to purdue. i believe it was april 12, 1975. and they met here, i believethey met in stewart center, i was here at the time. the purdue chapter was thehost chapter and at the end of that meeting we leftwith a national body defined that we called the nationalsociety of black engineers.
>>so listen, when igraduated from purdue in 1975, i went and pursued mymba and kind of went away from the organization fora while and then came back in an advisory capacityaround 1980, 81. since that time the organizationhas truly blossomed. it currently has 33,000 membersin 19 countries world wide. we have a full timepaid professional staff of 25 employees, we own a19,000 square foot building in alexandria virginia.
the organization has a 15million dollar annual budget. i mean this is the largeststudent run organization in the world and the most[inaudible] organization of its type anywhere. >>in 1980, the black culturalcenter celebrated its tenth year anniversary and hosted itsfirst black alumni dinner. this event set thestage for black purdue to mature beyond the studentexperience into the ranks of purdue's prestigious alumni.
>>a purdue degree means alot of different things. it actually startsbefore you graduate. and the first part ofit really has to do with how you are recruited. so when you come out of purduethere are name brand companies that want you because ofthe educational expertise that you have and because ofwhat they know that you're going to be able to deliver comingout of a purdue education. so i had a chance to talkto companies in california,
there were companieseast coast, west coast, i talked to globalcompanies coming out. the second part of a education from purdue was basedupon the experience and that toughness youhad to have to make it through the curriculum. what we really learnedwas how to think. you learned how towork through problems. and no matter where you go, nomatter what you do you're going
to have to work throughproblems. so, you know, thepurdue education for me married withhow i grew up. and a common sense approachto dealing with life, those two things together,i felt that i was ready to handle anythingthat was thrown at me. >>when i graduated in 76 andactually had two degrees, a bachelors and a masters,and i headed south, i really didn't realizethe impact of purdue.
how a great institutionthat it was. when i hit the corporateoffice many people thought that it was an ivyleague school. and when i talkedto my relatives, i started in memphis tennessee, they really thought it was anivy league east coast school. and the further i moved fromlafayette, i began to realize that the first manto walk on the moon, neil armstrong wasa purdue graduate.
the last man to walkon the moon, alan cernan is apurdue graduate. they boast about sevenor eight astronauts. so again, i didn't realizethe impact of this institution and how elite an institutionit was until i moved away. >>people say well, you know,electrical engineering, so how did you use thatto do this or that? electrical engineering is justabout how pieces fit together, how things flow together,how you address issues
that you might have and you have to break problemsdown in small chunks. and that is no differentthan what the ceo of the largest corporationof the world does. so for me today, as apresident of mcdonalds u.s., if i have human resourceinitiatives or issues or pipeline development,it's a small chunk. if i'm looking at how to marketto latinos or market to asians in america in a very different
and a novel way,it's a small chunk. if i'm looking atmedia buys and whether or not the mediamarket may be soft now or a negotiation i mighthave with the commissioner of the nba, it'sall small chunks. and so for me that partof my education i use each and every moment of the day. you know, the mostimportant thing i took away from purdue is very easy.
and i'll tell you, i took awaya lot of things, you know, i took away a great education,i took away the ability as i mentioned to think andproblem solve, you know, i took away, i mean i havesome fantastic friendships that were created there. but the most important thing,you know, by far was the fact that that's where i met my wife. and so, you know, nowit's 28 plus years later, she's still the sweetlittle girl that i met
in our first calculus class. >>don and i first met on thefirst night of campus at purdue. we hadn't even started classesyet and we had both been invited to a scholarship dinner. and so i said, well,you know, i'm liz, we met the firstnight of school. we go yeah, yeah, iremember you [inaudible] so where are you from? and he said, i'm from chicago.
i said, i'm from chicago. and i said, what part of chicago and he said northside of chicago. and i said, hum, you know,there's not a lot of black folks from the north side of chicago. where did you grow up? he said, it's a little street, you won't know anythingabout it. and i said, what street,he said cleveland street.
and i said cleveland? >>i grew up on, she said igrew up on cleveland street. >>i grew up on cleveland street. i said what was youraddress, and he said... >>1342, she said... >>952 north cleveland. we grew up four blocks apart. >>and never knew each other. >>and had never met.
and so we started talkingabout other things, we had both taken four yearsof latin in high school, we were both interestedin astronomy and we just kept talkingand i'm like, okay, there's somethinghappening here. >>we're blessed. simply put, we are blessed. and i say that because to whommuch is given, much is required. so we don't really have achoice but to give back.
when it comes to students,sponsoring students, you know, some one, somewheresponsored us. you know, neither of us hadthe money to be at purdue. monies came fromorganizations and from people who were basically giventhe same level of support that we are attemptingto give today. the other thing is we want to bea beacon of people just to know, you can make it through. if you can make it throughpurdue, you can graduate,
you can have a viablecareer, a viable life. you can be anything you want tobe whenever you decide you want to be, it's up to you. >>1990 was the firstyear purdue school of business elected anafrican-american as president of the student government. alice richardson frombellwood, illinois, helped organize a hands acrosscampus rally that saw students from a variety ofbackgrounds join hands
and then circle thefountain followed by a quick run throughthe water. >>[inaudible] a verybig school, i mean, 36,000 students can be dauntingand so for me i was a joiner. when i first got tocampus at cary quad where i lived theyhad elections. and so first thing i did was iran for treasurer of cary quad. they had a bicycle clubit was like [inaudible]. i joined jahari, ijoined science club
because at the time moststudents [inaudible] for science. i joined the societyof [inaudible], i joined kappa phi fraternity. i just wanted to join stuff. and then towards theend of my junior year, i had an opportunityto sort of think about either joining purdue'sboard of trustees and/or running for student government,president.
and they had never met a blackstudent who wanted to or aspired to be sort of the student bodypresident and that intrigued me. but, and given that therewas only 1,000 black students on campus, it quite frankly feltlike [inaudible] campus to sort of [inaudible] that was special. and more importantly wereally think we had an impact on the campus afterthe election. post purdue, you know, i hadthe opportunity to go work at [inaudible] brothers emergentgroup, i had an opportunity
to go work in africa wherei started a [inaudible] bank with some fellow,with some people from [inaudible] brothers. but then africa, after harvardbusiness school i got the ability to go work in financewhere you get to buy companies and [inaudible] andimprove them. i'd say the mostimportant thing i got from purdue was basicallyfriendships and quite frankly, life long friendshipswith people are sort
of my deep personal friendsas well as sort of my mentors and network from which i getadvice and inspiration to sort of push harder and work harderand try to be successful. and so for the last ten yearswe have built a minority in the company focused onbuying and selling companies. and some of the things[inaudible] are business college experience which is the[inaudible] around here, that we're having a purduebusiness and leadership seminar. >>the purdue black alumniorganization created the annual
business and leadershipsummit in 2007 as a way to promote networkingamong black alumni. each year, ten scholarships andinvitations are made available to the next generationof boilermakers through the businessopportunities program. one such recipientis heather parchman. >>i chose purdue because,you know, as soon as i came on the campus i lookedat my four or five different big tenschools and as soon as i came
on the campus i steppedoff the bus and i was like this was, thiswas my school. another reason whyi chose purdue is because they have thebusiness opportunity program which got me the connectionwith the black community. a purdue family gave mesome help [inaudible] after the semester. i couldn't afford tocontinue the semester. i [inaudible].
so they sent me a letterand they said, you know, you give me a deadline, ifyou don't have your money in by this date, yourclasses will be cancelled. my heart really justdropped and, you know, i talked to my mom. and i was like, idon't know what to do. you know, she didn't havethe financial means to do it. i talked to my advisor over at,the director of [inaudible] and, you know, he's like, okay,
[inaudible] you knowblack family. and [inaudible] called them upand it's like this young lady, this outstandingyoung lady needs help. and so they, you know,dropped like five hundred here, seven fifty here, a hundreddollars here and, you know, all total, you know, accumulatedtotal was six thousand dollars and just enough forme to, you know, continue with this semester. so, you know, i think withoutthe business opportunity program
i probably would notbe here right now. >>in 1998, naman powers jr.,one of the student protestors of the 1968 march, who had since become purdue's secondafrican-american trustee returned along with hisbrother claude to give over 100 thousand dollarstowards the construction of a new three million dollarblack cultural center facility. >>we do educational tours hereat the black cultural center. and part of the educationaltours is to talk
about the architecturalelements of this facility because we were very deliberatein the design of the facility. this is the first buildingon the university campus that was designed by anafrican-american architect and we highlight some ofthose architectural elements. one of the most striking is theportal which is the entrance way to the black culture center. it creates or sends a message that purdue universityis an inclusive community
and that portal isrepresentative of leading into the black communityhere at purdue university. our receptionist desk hasa very unique shape to it. it's actually inspiredby the hull of a ship. and the hull of aship has significance in the african-americancommunity because many of our ancestors weretransported via slave ships as part of the middle passage. and whenever we havegroups of students come
to the black culture centerwe have them congregate there in front of it, our receptionistdesk, and talk about the hull of the ship and thesignificance of it. and let them know if theirafrican ancestors could have survived that horrificjourney of the middle passage that they too can survive thepurdue university experience. >>today, purdue studentsenjoy the fruits of labor hard foughtdecades before. forty one years afterdelta sigma theta,
the first african-americansorority to arrive at purdue, students like erica millscontinue to find support. >>every august of thevery first thursday of every school semester, there's what's called the boilerfest of black cultural center. and basically what itis is an opportunity for all the minority studentsat purdue to come out and to get to know all the organizationsthat they can identify with where they can findpeople who look them
and who are interestingand things that they're interested in. so my freshman year, thisis definitely the first time when i walked down, isaw everyone around me who pretty much lookedlike me and a whole bunch of different organizationsthat i could join [inaudible] with people every day. and to be on sucha, to be on a campus like purdue [inaudible]is really important
and so boiler fest definitelywas like the stepping stone to help get me to where i am. so my first year this isdefinitely the first time when i walked down andi saw everyone around me and to such a, to be on a campus i was interviewing for a job and they asked me whatuniversity i came from and i let them know i was frompurdue university and, you know, they got real excited.
like purdue, thepurdue university? and i'm like, it's just purduebut for me it was an opportunity to see outside of purdue, peoplereally do look at the university in that very goodlight and there's, it's a wonderful university. and so it me feel really good toknow that my education was going to be from somewherethat, you know, was looked upon wellby the world. >>since helen basswilliams arrived
in the 1960s a tight knitinformal family style faculty student mentorship has beenavailable to students at purdue. >>minority engineeringprogram here at purdue university hasattracted me largely. i was born and raised ingary, indiana, end up coming into purdue universityfor computer engineering and now i've landed a full timejob at microsoft corporation in redman, washington. anytime i want to seesomebody on the same shade
as me i would go overto that side of campus and i really be ableto socialize with people of my same culture. there's always peoplethere to help me. ms. virginia booth wasthere to guide me along. anytime of the day that youfeel like going in her office and just release, justrelieving stress, letting it all out she'll listen to you,she'll give you advice, they'll send you inthe right direction.
>>virginia booth in the minorityin the engineering program, like that's my, that'smy mother. >>minority engineeringprogram at purdue, i would say that we have createda family kind of an environment for young people that come here. not just engineering students,but any student that might come into our offices for help. to be called mama is probably areflection of that family feel. just as i would call marion momand a lot of students saw marion
as the mom away from home, theone that kept you in check even when your own mother didn'tknow what you were doing. students see that in me as well. outside of the fact that i frya lot of chicken and i have them over to the house on theweekends and, you know, they can pretty much come to me for whatever situation mightbe going on in their lives. i keep a box of kleenexin my office and when students have anissue or they flunk the test
or they got a 100, we mayrejoice or we may cry depending on what the situation is. so i think young peopleneed that sense of family and the fact that they wouldcall me mom is a reflection that we've establishedthat at purdue. >>being black at purdue,it's not where it should be but it is betterthat where we were. so we are, we've madesome steps but yet we are, we still have someprogress to make.
so we've walked a long journeybut the journey is still there. and so i think what reallyhelps is having people in place like myself who havegone through the journey on a different level and alot of people are coming back to purdue to work for purduewho were here on the other side. so we can see bothsides of the coin and know how we can make thisthing better for the students and the environment thatthey're going to face when they exit this place.
>>it's been over 100 years since david robert lewis firstwalked onto purdue's campus. he must have imagined as we donow in moments of isolation, that there is indeeda better day coming. and that the best days forpurdue are yet to come. >>i am reverend doctornicholas hood [phonetic]. i am purdue. >>i am marion williamson blalok. >>i am reverend eric duke[inaudible] and i am purdue.
>>i am roger [inaudible]. >>i am tony harris. >>i am erica elizabeth mills. >>i'm heather [inaudible]. >>i am [inaudible]. >>i'm [inaudible]. >>i am liz thompson. >>i am thomas [inaudible].