Civil Engineering Names Graduate Program After President's Council Members

The Purdue University Board of Trustees voted Friday (April 21) to approve naming the Lyles School of Civil Engineering graduate program in recognition of a recent significant gift by generous alumni and President's Council members Christopher and Susan Burke.

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2017-18 President’s Council Scholarship Recipient

Leading by example. Encouraging and empowering others. Understanding people’s strengths and passions. To Nathan Grabner, the 2017–18 Purdue President’s Council 40th Anniversary Scholarship recipient, these are all important qualities for any leader to possess.

Nathan has always believed that everyone, regardless of title, is capable of being a good leader, and he strives to hold himself to a high standard of leadership and integrity in each of his many campus activities, qualities that helped him secure the President’s Council scholarship.

A native of Fort Wayne, Ind., not too far from the university he would one day call home, Nathan has been a Purdue fan his entire life. This early affinity is, in part, thanks to his uncle, a graduate of Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Nathan’s mother also attended IPFW.

“My uncle is a die-hard fan and always has football season tickets, so I’ve been going to the games and tailgating on Slayter Hill since the second grade.”

Nathan’s first opportunity to explore Purdue’s academic offerings didn’t come until his junior year of high school, when his academic super bowl team made it to state finals.

“I fell in love with campus, and being torn at the time between engineering and management, Purdue was somewhere I could experience the best of both worlds.” He has never looked back on his decision.

Following a summer internship with Ford in Chicago, Nathan returns to campus this fall as a junior pursuing his bachelor’s degree in marketing with a concentration in finance in the Krannert School of Management.

What draws him to marketing is the constant evolution of the field, and he is confident it is a path that will keep him challenged and allow him to continue learning throughout the span of his career. He hopes to one day be the chief marketing officer of a Fortune 500 company.

Nathan has a unique perspective on the importance of private giving—as an active volunteer giving his time as the outreach executive to Purdue University Dance Marathon—and as a scholarship recipient.

Nathan applied for the President’s Council scholarship to ease the financial burden on his family after a friend suggested that it sounded like a good fit.

As Nathan explains, “Scholarships have made my time at Purdue possible.” He understands and appreciates the impact of this assistance as the recipient of the Purdue Presidential and Marquee Scholarships, as well. Because of this financial assistance, he has been able to get more heavily involved around campus, volunteering his spare time to campus causes instead of taking on part-time work.

When it comes to philanthropic endeavors, Nathan offers this advice to fellow and future Boilermakers: “College is the perfect time to find out your passions and then take the opportunity to get involved and give back.”

Spoken like a true leader.


The President's Council 40th Anniversary Scholarship was established in 2012 to commemorate the vision set forth by Purdue President Arthur Hansen, who recognized the growing need for philanthropy in higher education and created the leadership donor society at Purdue named President's Council.

Since 1972, thousands of President’s Council members have supported professorships, fellowships, new facilities, research, athletics, scholarships, and countless other programs and auxiliaries on campus.

The scholarship is available to full-time juniors and seniors at Purdue with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 who have exhibited leadership qualities during their freshman and sophomore years here or through work experience. The deadline to apply is February 1 for the upcoming academic year.

To find out more information or to make a contribution to this scholarship fund, please contact Bob Ford or Claire Chandler with the President’s Council via the contact information below.

Nathan Grabner

President's Council Scholarship Recipient
Nathan Grabner (BS '18)
Marketing, Krannert School of Management

President's Council Staff

If you are a President’s Council member in need of assistance or if you are interested in joining our President’s Council family, please call 765-494-9290 or 800-213-9279.

April Headdy

April Headdy

Senior Director of Donor Relations and Campaign Programs
(765) 494-7753

Valerie Johnson

Valerie Johnson

Associate Director of Donor Relations and Campaign Programs
(765) 496-2842

Bob Ford

Bob Ford

Director of President’s Council
(765) 494-9290

Claire Chandler

Claire Chandler

Director of Development
(765) 494-0671

Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw

Donor Relations Coordinator
(765) 496-3580

Misty Farrar

Misty Farrar

Executive Assistant
(765) 494-6433