(photo courtesy of Purdue University)
David Robert Lewis (Photo
An anonymous donor has given a $1 million cash gift to the Purdue University College of Engineering to establish a scholarship program in honor of the college’s first black graduate to help future black students on an engineering track.
The engineering scholarship endowment is named in memory of David Robert Lewis, who graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1894.
Purdue says Lewis was one of only nine black students who graduated from Indiana colleges between the Civil War and the year 1900.
“There is no way to overstate the importance of this generous, timely gift,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “We are dedicated to preparing underrepresented students to enroll and succeed in STEM disciplines at the college level—and ideally at Purdue. This latest gift—and those it inspires—will help make a huge difference for the students who work toward and dream about coming to our university.”
Purdue says the money comes from a member of the college’s engineering community.
Acting dean of the College of Engineering Mark Lundstrom says he hopes that this gift from “one of our own” will inspire others in the college to do what they can, financially or otherwise, to address this critical challenge.
“The David Robert Lewis Engineering Scholarship comes at a time when our college is redoubling its efforts to increase the number of black engineering students at Purdue and to provide the climate and support they need to succeed,” said Lundstrom. “For a land-grant university like Purdue, this is simply living up to our mission of offering the opportunity for an affordable, excellent education to all of our citizens.”
Purdue says the gift extends the surge in the number of endowed scholarships for underrepresented minorities it has achieved since 2013 – from 43 to 140, representing $17.2 million.