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2 women standing in front of Purdue's Big Bass Drum holding a sign that reads "This one is for you grandpa"

A legacy of music and family

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong once described music as “life itself.” For some people, it creates an artistic bridge connecting friends and family across generations.

At Purdue University, music has long played an instrumental role in campus and student life. The late Jan Huber, a veterinarian and former student in the College of Agriculture, loved performing in the “All-American” Marching Band and creating cherished memories.

“I recall marching from Elliott Hall of Music to Ross-Ade Stadium before home football games, blasting ‘Hail Purdue!’ on my trombone as loudly as I could possibly play,” he said shortly before his death in December.   

Kami Huber, his great-granddaughter and an alto saxophonist, shares his passion for music. She performs in the jazz and concert bands at Noblesville High School in Indiana and hopes one day to study veterinary medicine. “It’s amazing that with all the years between us, we both had a love of music and veterinary science,” Kami says of their bond.

An Indiana native and member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, Huber developed a keen interest in animal agriculture at an early age. His paternal grandmother owned a farm with cows and chickens, and his father, Edward (A’27, MS EDU’32), purchased a farm stocked with beef cattle, swine, and sheep.

“My father was in Purdue’s four-year ROTC program in the horse artillery,” Huber said. “I can remember playing with his knee-high boots and spurs as a boy. By the time I was a senior in high school, l had decided I wanted to be a farm-animal veterinarian.” Although Purdue didn’t yet offer a veterinary degree, students could complete coursework preparing them for advanced study at other institutions.

Attending Purdue not only enhanced Huber’s vocational preparation but also enriched his personal life when he met his wife, Rose Marie (A’55), in a dairy bacteriology class. He went on to earn his doctor of veterinary medicine degree at the Ohio State University and maintained strong ties with Purdue throughout his life. Together, he and Rose Marie helped fund construction of the Hobart and Russell Creighton Hall of Animal Sciences and established a related endowment in their names.

In recent years, Huber’s musical legacy at Purdue came full circle. Between 2011 and 2017, he marched and performed with students during several Homecoming celebrations. This past fall, Kami conducted the marching band in Huber’s honor during a practice performance of “Hail Purdue!” that was captured on film.   

“He was honored that everyone worked so hard on the surprise,” Kami says. “He told me that he watched the video a couple dozen times the first day. Over the years, I saw the time Grandpa put into the things he was passionate about, and it was inspiring.” 

—Matt Schnepf

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Patsy J. Mellott

BS College of Health and Human Sciences, 1969
Fishers, IN

Patsy earned a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition in business from Purdue in 1969, in addition to an MBA in food marketing from Michigan State University in 1970. She retired from Kraft Foods in 2006 after 36 years in corporate food marketing and marketing communications management.

A community volunteer, Patsy serves on the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Advisory Board and the Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council, in addition to the President’s Council Advisory Board. She is a former member of the Health and Human Sciences Alumni Board. Patsy held several offices from 2006 through 2013, including president and treasurer. She serves her community’s Discover Indianapolis Club in Fishers, holding several leadership roles for over 10 years.

Patsy has received several honors, including the Purdue University Nutrition Science Department Hall of Fame recipient in 2009 and the Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. She also received the college’s Gold and Black Award in 2016, an honor reserved for donors who have moved the college forward by committing exceptional financial resources.

In addition to endowing two scholarships, the Patsy J. Mellott Scholarship and Patsy J. Mellott HHS Scholarship, she established the Patsy J. Mellott Teaching Innovation Award in the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2013. In 2015, she endowed the Patsy J. Mellott Women’s Tennis Coach Performance Award. She is a lead donor in the Christine M. Ladisch Faculty Leadership Award and the Purdue Women’s Network Virginia C. Meredith Scholarship for the College of Health and Human Sciences.