Purdue for Life Foundation announces Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging division

WEST LAFAYETTE— The Purdue for Life Foundation has launched a new division in support of Purdue University’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging priorities and its Equity Task Force, which is one of five Purdue Next Moves initiatives.

Jacqueline M. Gatson Assistant Vice President of Advancement for Diversity

Led by Jacqueline M. Gatson, Assistant Vice President of Advancement for Diversity, inclusion, and belonging, the division will develop a broad range of alumni engagement and fundraising strategies to create and strengthen connections with potential volunteers, mentors, industry partners, and donors. Gatson received a Bachelor of Arts from Grambling State University and holds two degrees from Kansas State University: a Master of Science and a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership.

Mark Gaines serves as the chief development officer, and the division is currently expanding to include a director of industry partnerships and a director of foundation relations.

“The Equity Task Force is committed to ensuring an equitable, holistic experience for all Boilermakers, with a current focus on the Black Boilermaker community,” Gatson said. “To do this, we will address areas of recruitment, retention, and the overall campus experience of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. We will employ innovative strategies that are both intentional and authentic.

Purdue Bell Tower

“Our team will be setting ambitious goals to help Purdue in this endeavor through alumni engagement, fundraising, community, and industry partnerships, and foundation relations. Through these pathways, we aim to enhance the Purdue community and create meaningful opportunities for community, collaboration, and support.”

Alumni can make a difference for today’s students by staying involved through their participation and their dollars, said Angela Dodd, Vice President of the Purdue Black Alumni Organization (PBAO) and a 1983 graduate of Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering. She is an alumni member of the Equity Task Force.

Angela Dodd, Vice President of the Purdue Black Alumni Organization

“Supporting Purdue’s investment in programming targeted specifically for Black students exponentially increases the opportunity for a positive experience on campus,” Dodd said. “Whether we support the Black Cultural Center, Minority Engineering Program, the Business Opportunity Program, or programs in the College of Veterinary Medicine, we can work to connect Black students both to each other and to the university.”

PBAO and the Purdue for Life Foundation’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging division will focus on “cluster cities” — targeted locales where a large number of alumni and potential students reside — to increase the opportunity for alumni engagement and participation in PBAO-hosted recruiting events.

In addition, the division has identified a number of interconnected priorities:

  • Recruitment: Encourage alumni participation in the Purdue Alumni Recruitment for Tomorrow (PART) recruitment program, to help increase the number of Purdue undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented populations.
  • Fundraising: Engage in fundraising activity for scholarships and retention programs through individual, foundation, and corporate gifts as well as PBAO’s Lacey-Mason Giving Circle, which supports both scholarships and campus programming.
  • Industry partnerships: Identify high-impact summer opportunities through internships, co-ops, and research for Purdue students and students at the Purdue Polytechnic High Schools in Indianapolis and South Bend. Develop industry partnerships to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in the workforce and through entrepreneurial endeavors.

“I look forward to continuing my work with the Boilermaker family, alumni, industry partners, and the community at large,” Gatson said. “We are building momentum for our next giant leap, and I hope Purdue alumni and friends will join in this important work.”

To find out more about the Purdue for Life Foundation’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Division, contact Gatson at diversity@purdueforlife.org.