Welcome Alumni & Friends
In 2013-14 we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the School of Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE), the forerunner of the College of Liberal Arts. This historic event marked the moment that liberal arts began in earnest to build its future as Purdue’s center for excellence in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Our alumni vividly demonstrate that excellence in many fields and communities across the globe—so we’ve asked 50 of them to tell us more about their careers and lives, via a modified version of the Proust questionnaire. This survey of revealing questions was a popular parlor game in Marcel Proust’s time, made famous by his answers and adapted by Vanity Fair and the show Inside the Actors Studio. We hope you enjoy getting to know these fascinating and inspiring CLA alumni.
BS 1971, Speech Pathology/Audiology
HDR 2013, Social Sciences
Photo by Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation
How do you go from babysitting to leading Girl Up, a global initiative to ensure that adolescent girls are educated, healthy, and safe? From serving at McDonald’s to becoming one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Rock the World” in 2011? Ask Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences from Purdue in May.
She’d describe a winding path through several fields: Washington, D.C. press secretary, editorial administration at a major news magazine, media relations consultant, tech industry communications, and public service at the UN Foundation. What hasn’t changed is Calvin’s interest in meeting the needs of others, especially women and girls, and the ability to communicate what needs to be done, springing into action as a catalyst for change. And she’s had some pretty motivating role models to inspire her.
“In 2009, I was part of a small group of people who met privately with Nelson Mandela and his wife Graça Machel in the game reserve of Sir Richard Branson,” she recalls. “Being in the presence of ‘Madiba,’ as the South Africans call him, was like being in the presence of a saint. His kind eyes, his sweet smile, his soft and gentle voice were a reminder of the strong man who withstood eighteen years on Robben Island without bitterness or anger. I return to that moment often for inspiration.”
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