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Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building

Pulling together to give back in gratitude

Members of Purdue’s American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition team know what it means to pull together. After multiple top-five finishes since 1998, the Purdue team pulled off the top prize in 2017—its first championship in school history.

Now, young alumni members of the team have pulled together to successfully raise more than $100,000 to name the new resource room in the $80 million Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building renovation and addition project in West Lafayette. 

President’s Council members Michael Holland and J.T. Welte spearheaded the alumni group outreach as leaders for the fundraising efforts shortly after the team victory in 2017. 

Holland, now a Large and Utility Tractor Steering and Brake Systems team leader for the John Deere Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, Iowa, earned his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 2005, a master’s in engineering in 2007, and his Ph.D. in engineering in 2012. He joined the Purdue tractor design team his sophomore year.

“I am proud of my connection to Purdue ABE, and I am glad to support the building renovation,” Holland says. “The resource room, welcoming to all undergraduate and grad students alike, has always felt like the heart of ABE. I am grateful that students in the new building can continue to use and enjoy the resource room much like I did during my time at Purdue.”

Like Holland, Welte considered the resource room “a centerpiece” of the ABE culture—a space equipped with computers and comfortable furniture that filled many needs: space for class projects, homework, studying, club meetings, and meetings with fellow students and friends. Many Quarter Scale tractor design decisions took place in that room, too.

“The ABE department provides so much for the team, and we felt like this was a perfect opportunity to give back,” says Welte, a design engineer at the 360 Yield Center in Illinois who earned a bachelor’s degree in ABE in 2012, a master’s in ABE in 2014, and was a tractor team member from 2010 to 2014.

With the ability to contribute over a five-year period, good alumni participation, and corporate matching programs, the tractor team alumni met their goal, and a plaque outside the new room will read: Through the generosity of “Friends of Purdue Quarter Scale” Resource Room. 

Occupancy is scheduled for December 2020.

Design team members and others who want to contribute to the resource room and ABE project, visit ag.purdue.edu/ABEbuilding.

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