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The Last Straw?

As students returned to campus for the start of the spring semester, they found many updates awaiting them on the ground floor of the Purdue Memorial Union.

In addition to seeing the newly opened Atlas Family Marketplace, students may have also found themselves drinking from a straw that will completely bio-assimilate into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass in 12–24 months. Made in the U.S. by Smart Plastic Technologies, 280,000 of these SPTek ECLIPSE™ straws were generously donated by alumni and Purdue President’s Council pinnacle members Dave and Judy Hale for use at campus eateries. After having owned a biodegradable plastic bag company for decades, Dave was particularly impressed by the potential of this revolutionary plastic. “There are so many world problems—all we can do is take them on one at a time,” Dave says.

While conventional plastic straws take more than 450 years to break down, these straws are made with a patent-pending technology that does the job in months, not centuries. Many large companies are already taking advantage of the new tech, especially those in the disposable waste industries. We are grateful to have such an exciting advancement available on our campus.

The Chaney-Hale Hall of Science is named for their contributions, as is the head’s suite in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Thank you, Dave and Judy!

More President's Council News

Shari Harmon Ashkar leaning against a pole posing in front of a pool

Changing Lives One Stitch at a Time

“A college degree is life-changing,” Shari Harmon Ashkar (HHS’75) says. “We’re so lucky to have a world-renowned university in Indiana that offers not only a wonderful education but also wonderful opportunities
as you’re studying. I’m very proud to join with Purdue and help someone get a head start on a better life.”

Mark and Melanie Kidder smiling with their arms wrapped around one another

Lift as You Climb

“Lift as you climb” is a phrase Mark (S’95) and Melanie Kidder have come to live by. “You lift somebody else up and help them climb to the top with you,” Melanie explains.

Purdue for Life Foundation

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.