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Jerry Semler a former Purdue Professor who recently passed away.

Remembering Jerry Semler

The Purdue community mourns the death of accomplished business leader and proud alumnus Jerry Semler (M’58, HDR M’02). He died Monday, July 24, at age 86.

“Since graduating from Purdue in 1958, Jerry Semler has tirelessly contributed to the prosperity of central Indiana,” Purdue President Mung Chiang says. “His outstanding leadership exemplified the impact to society made by the best Boilermakers.”

Semler joined American United Life Insurance Co.—now OneAmerica Financial Partners—as a management trainee in 1959. He became president of the company in 1980 and served in various executive leadership roles, including chief operating officer, CEO, and chairman of the board, before his retirement in 2004. He remained on the board as chairman emeritus until 2009.

An industrial economics graduate, Semler was a longtime supporter of Purdue University as a member of the John Purdue Club, President’s Council, and the Purdue Alumni Association. He and his wife, Rosemary “Rosie” (Reich) Semler (LA’59), established the Jerry and Rosie Semler Chair in Economics in what is now the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business and helped fund several university scholarships.

Semler served on the Krannert Dean’s Advisory Council for 30 years and was a chair of the President’s Council Advisory Board. He was also a member of the presidential search committee, The Campaign for Purdue Steering Committee, and the Purdue Foundation Development Council. In 1993, Semler received the Krannert Distinguished Alumni Award, and he was honored with the Krannert Business Leadership Award in 2001.

Beyond Purdue, Semler was active with many Indiana nonprofits, civic and business organizations, and professional associations. He served as chairman for the boards of Visit Indy, the Center for Leadership Development, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indianapolis Downtown Inc., and the 500 Festival Foundation. He also was board president of 500 Festival Associates and Indiana Repertory Theatre.

Semler was a Sagamore of the Wabash recipient, and—in recognition of their many outstanding philanthropic contributions in the Indianapolis community—he and Rosie were designated “Indiana Living Legends” by the Indiana Historical Society in 2015.

Semler is survived by Rosie, his wife of 63 years, as well as seven children, 28 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, many of whom are Boilermakers.

—Nicolle Kain

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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.