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Fabulous at Forty: Supporting Purdue’s Mission

AS THEIR FORTIETH BIRTHDAYS APPROACHED, Beth Hobson (MS ’20) and her husband, Neil, decided they were ready to set their estate intentions. While Beth has many organizations and causes close to her heart, and despite never having set foot in West Lafayette, she chose to give to the Brian Lamb School of Communication.

Beth didn’t take a traditional path to obtain a college degree, and her journey has shown that multiple paths lead to success. Led by determination and hard work, Beth is currently leading a 24 million dollar comprehensive campaign for Hosparus Health, a non-profit organization that provides end of life care and counseling to more than 8,500 patients and families in Kentucky and Southern Indiana each year.

After graduating high school in Kentucky, Beth had hoped to attend law school and become a family court judge. However, she realized very quickly that finances were a major roadblock and dropped out of her undergraduate classes at the University of Louisville (U of L). She recalls weeping in bed as her friends were graduating (even if they were doing so under a crippling amount of debt).

She began working at a small non-profit, which led to a job back at the U of L at the Brown Cancer Center. She worked while attending classes and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree and zero debt.

Having spent more than fifteen years in fundraising and considering herself a lifelong learner, Beth decided to apply for an online master’s in communication program. She debated between her top two choices: Purdue and Johns Hopkins. Ultimately, she selected Purdue because she saw it as the best value to achieve her dreams. During her studies, Beth particularly enjoyed her fundraising course and also appreciated how her first professor, Mike Kohler, was able to strike a balance with non-traditional working professional students like herself. Her health communication class was also a highlight—she still refers to her textbooks for real-world application within her current position.

Purdue hasn’t raised tuition since 2012—effectively not only proclaiming a goal to provide a quality education at the highest value but by proving it. And for Beth Hobson, it meant an advanced degree and a chance to give back to the school that helped her achieve her dreams. //

Writer:  Andrea Marfell, President’s Council Communications

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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.