August 10, 2012



Porterfield named division director at NASA

Marshall Porterfielda Purdue University professor of agricultural and biological engineering and biomedical engineering, will become director of NASA's Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division for the next two to three years.

Marshall Porterfield
Marshall Porterfield

Porterfield will take a leave of absence from Purdue, though he will remain a tenured professor and his research programs will continue. He plans to return to campus every few weeks to work with graduate students.

"Purdue's history is intimately intertwined with the history of human space exploration. For me, it is an amazing opportunity to continue that tradition in a position that will have such impact on the International Space Station research era at NASA," Porterfield said. "What we accomplish in this program will determine the direction of human exploration in the future. It is a profound responsibility that I don't take lightly."

Porterfield will oversee four program areas: fundamental space biology, physical sciences, human research programs and the International Space Station laboratory. He will also act as a liaison between NASA and the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The appointment contract is for two years, but Porterfield said he has committed to three years in the position.

Entomology Dept. celebrates 100th birthday

Centenniel Entomology logo

This is a birthday party that has been 100 years in the making. So it only makes sense that it should take more than one day to adequately celebrate the centennial of Purdue University's Department of Entomology.

Entomology will officially celebrate its 100th birthday Oct. 12-13 as part of Purdue's Homecoming weekend festivities. The department will kick off a school-year-long recognition program Aug. 23.

"We have lined up a list of guest speakers not only from Purdue, but also from across the nation to help us celebrate our centennial," said department head
Steve Yaninek. "Our Centennial Lecture Series will run every Thursday from Aug. 23 through the end of April 2013 and feature nationally acclaimed scientists, distinguished alumni and some special stakeholder partners."

A complete schedule of the speakers is available at

The main events of the centennial celebration are scheduled for Oct. 12-13, with department tours and visits, presentation of the annual J. V. Osmun Alumni Award for Professional Achievement Award in Entomology, a special collections exhibit opening and reception in the Purdue Libraries, a centennial gala banquet and a department tailgate party.

The department has created a website containing details of the celebration at

When the Purdue University School of Agriculture was organized into departments in 1884, the Department of Horticulture and Entomology was established under the leadership of entomologist James Troop.

Entomology became a separate department from horticulture under Troop's leadership in 1912 "because of the growth of the interest and importance of these subjects," according to the Board of Trustees minutes from June 13, 1911.

J. J. Davis succeeded Troop as department head in 1920, and it was under his leadership that the first baccalaureate program in entomology at Purdue was established in 1928.

In 1936, the first Extension entomologist was appointed, and the urban pest control conference was initiated. In 1942, the department granted the first PhD in entomology to George Gould, whose dissertation was titled "The biology and control of the striped cucumber beetle." The first undergraduate structural pest control curriculum in the U.S. was established at Purdue in 1946.

Find out more about the history of the Department of Entomology
here (PDF).

Since the department was created, more than 1,000 degrees in entomology have been awarded.

Nominations for Hovde Award sought

Nominations are now being accepted for this year's Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence (PDF), given annually to a member of the Purdue University faculty or staff with an outstanding record of educational service to rural Indiana.

Any active member of the faculty or staff is eligible for nomination. A person's contributions may have been in the classroom, in counseling, in research or through Extension.

"There are many faculty and staff members at Purdue whose exemplary work greatly improves the lives of the people of Indiana, and this award duly recognizes them for their commitment," said Chuck Hibberd, director of Purdue Extension. "We are certain that there are many individuals worthy of this honor."

Details about the award and how to nominate are available by contacting Becky Rice by email at Nomination deadline is Sept. 14. Nominations must be submitted to Rice by email or by fax at 765-494-7420.

The award, sponsored by the Indiana Farm Bureau, is named for Purdue's seventh president, who served from 1946 to 1971. The award has been given annually since 1972.

The 2011 recipient was
Michael D. Boehlje, distinguished professor of agricultural economics, for his work in helping farmers and agribusinesses modernize their management strategies.


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