France Cordova begins her final week today as president of Purdue, and colleagues are praising her tenure. Purdue North Central Chancellor James Dworkin credits Cordova with committing to scholarships to make Purdue accessible to students from all backgrounds. And he says she made a point of making them feel welcome once they arrived, sitting in the student section at Purdue games, and president over leadership classes at Westwood, the president‘s official residence.
Purdue trustees president Keith Krach says Cordova doubled research dollars coming into Purdue, and raised the university’s profile overseas.
“We’ve done some partnerships with some major Chinese universities, for example. We’ve also done a lot in South America, and particularly in Colombia, where we’ve worked a lot with the national government,” Krach says.
He says today‘s Purdue students boast higher SAT scores and graduate at a higher rate. And Krach says the former chief scientist at NASA strengthened Purdue‘s global partnerships. John Hardin, the longest-serving current trustee, says Cordova overhauled the way large lecture classes were taught and bettered student life.
“There have been a number of changes in the way large classes are taught,” Hardin says. “She‘s initiated scholarships that help bring highly qualified but not necessarily financially well-off students to Purdue.”
Cordova became chair of the board of the Smithsonian Institution in January and will continue in that role. Provost Tim Sams becomes Purdue‘s interim president until January, when Mitch Daniels completes his term as governor and is inaugurated as Cordova’s successor.