Close this search box.
Search Menu

Small Steps, Giant Impact Award

About the Award

From small steps to giant leaps, Purdue alumni have left footprints for 150 years. Advocating for a child’s welfare. Rescuing abused animals. Seeking a cure for cancer. Landing a man on the moon.

Purdue alumni are as humble as they are exceptional. As industrious as they are willing. They take initiative without seeking recognition. Though the names and the stories too often go untold, there are innumerable ways in which small steps create giant impact. Locally and globally.

To mark Purdue’s sesquicentennial, and honor the dedicated work of alumni everywhere, the Purdue Alumni Association wanted to shine a light on these endeavors with the Small Steps, Giant Impact award.


Nominations were accepted from January 1 until April 1, 2019, our 150th Celebration year.

Selection Criteria

We asked people to nominate a Purdue graduate whose life and work make a giant impact. Even if it means the world to just one person.

It may be someone who …

  • Brings food to an elderly neighbor and spends time with them.
  • Mentors underprivileged youth and helps them realize their potential.
  • Works to make healthy food accessible in underserved communities.
  • Organizes volunteer relief efforts after disaster strikes.
  • Develops strategies to mitigate environmental impacts.

And the Winner is…

The Small Steps, Giant Impact award was presented during Homecoming celebrations to Rudy Shriram (M’13) for his tireless work on behalf of his tireless work for underprivileged and disadvantaged kids.

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.