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Joann Pasquale DiGennaro


BA 1965, Special Education

Joann DiGennaro established the Center for Excellence in Education, with the late Admiral H.G. Rickover in 1983, to nurture scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to promote international understanding among future scientific and technological leaders.

DiGennaro is responsible for all international and cultural exchanges between the Center and other nations. To date, CEE has had programming with 51 nations. She speaks throughout the world about education for economic development and national security and has represented the U.S. Department of State to explore future U.S. bilateral agreements. Joann has been a guest of educational and scientific communities throughout the world. She advised the Ministry of Education of Singapore on implementing special programs for academically talented math and science students. She is a founder of Bulgaria’s Research Science Institute, inaugurated in 2001. She has been consultant to Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, Israel and she helped implement the Research Science Institute at Fudan University in Shanghai China.

DiGennaro was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the U.S. Army War College Board of Trustees where she served as Chairperson. She also served on the Advisory Council of the National Aeronautics and Aerospace Administration and received NASA’s Public Service Medal (2008). She is a recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Award (2008). DiGennaro is on the Board of Governors of the Coordinating Council for International Universities, the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council, and an External Advisory Council Member of the Global Policy Research Institute at Purdue.  DiGennaro is the author of Scholarships and Fellowships for Math and Science Students and Science Literacy: Essential for Decision Making.

In June 2010 the Center for Excellence in Education jointly with Purdue sponsored the first USA Biology Olympiad. A four-member USA Biology Olympiad National team was selected during a two-week competition held on the Purdue West Lafayette campus, to represent the United States at the International Biology Olympiad. Distinguished researchers from Purdue, Harvard, and Princeton universities, and Bridgewater State College delivered lectures to the finalists and assisted in laboratory activities at Discovery Park, Lilly Hall and elsewhere on the Purdue campus.

During her time at Purdue DiGennaro was the first female member of the Student Body President’s Executive Committee.