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Purdue for Life Foundation

Dr. Jacqueline M. GastonJacqueline M. Gatson, Ed.D., has been named the Assistant Vice President of Advancement for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Purdue for Life Foundation. Prior to joining the Purdue for Life Foundation, Dr. Gatson was the Associate Director for Purdue University’s Minority Engineering Program (MEP). Dr. Gatson has over a decade of experience in higher education, specializing in university and industry engagement, STEM programs, and strategic partnerships.

Since joining the Purdue MEP staff in 2019 as the Graduate and Organizational Diversity Strategist, and subsequently as Associate Director, she has been an integral leader in core operational areas including: student engagement and outreach, industry engagement, program management, and curriculum design and instruction. In response to COVID-19, Dr. Gatson created the framework for and led the execution of MEP’s 2020 Virtual Engineering Summer Programs (EABC, MITE, SEW, and PREFACE), a first in the program’s history.  In 2021 she led the strategic planning efforts to include the first academic 8-9 credit hour model in the MEP Engineering Academic Boot Camp summer program for incoming freshmen.  She is also credited for founding and leading the award winning, Purdue College of Engineering’s, We Support Black Engineers campaign that launched during the Fall 2020 semester.

In her new role at the Purdue for Life Foundation, Dr. Gatson will design, lead, and direct a broad range of Advancement initiatives that support engagement and development strategies to fulfill the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities. She will directly oversee and support fundraising activity, foundation relations, industry partnerships, and community partnerships aimed at increasing representation and access for diverse students, faculty, and staff. She will also partner with alumni affinity networks to strengthen alumni relations with potential volunteers, mentors, friends, and donors. Dr. Gatson’s role is aligned to the recently formed Equity Task Force at Purdue. 

Known for her leadership and creativity in conceptualizing and managing nationwide signature programming and initiatives, Dr. Gatson served in numerous roles at Kansas State University prior to her arrival at Purdue including: Assistant Director for Career and Employment Services – College of Engineering and STEM Careers; First Generation Scholars Program Coordinator – College of Engineering; and Special Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships – College of Education, Educational Leadership Department. She is also a professional member ASEE and former board member of NAMEPA, Inc.

Dr. Gatson is recognized as a STEM diversity and inclusion thought leader and advocate. She is the recipient of the 2020 New Employee Award from the College of Engineering at Purdue University.  She is also the 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, that recognizes individuals or organizations who have made significant and sustained contributions to Black Higher Education within the State of Indiana, from the Purdue Black Graduate Student Association.

Dr. Gatson received her B.A. from Grambling State University and holds both an M.S. from Kansas State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.