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Distinguished Alumni

Fall 2013 | By THiNK Staff. Photos by Vincent Walter..

For more than 25 years, the College of Liberal Arts has recognized the outstanding achievements of its graduates through the Distinguished Alumni Awards program. Recipients of this award have made significant contributions to society, and their accomplishments, affiliations, and careers honor the legacy of excellence at Purdue University and the College of Liberal Arts.
Diane Arenberg

Diane Arenberg

BA 1976, Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts, Interior Design

Throughout her career, Diane Arenberg has followed where her artistic instincts led. She cofounded her own interior design firm, Commercial Design Consultants, in Milwaukee, but after ten years in the field, decided to study art therapy and alcoholism counseling, joining a hospital drug and alcohol rehab unit. The pull to become a fine artist eventually led her to study pastels, oil painting, jewelry design, and ceramic sculpture with several artists she admires. She opened Art Escape Gallery and Compound with Purdue alumna Kyle Zubatsky, exhibiting their work and more than 60 other artists. Arenberg’s work can currently be seen at galleries in Wisconsin and New Mexico.

Her long volunteer history includes work with the Child Abuse Prevention Fund of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She is also a board member of the Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico, where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted for many years.


Sara Cobb

Sara B. Cobb

BA 1980, Political Science

Sara B. Cobb has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising and development at universities, corporations, and foundations, applying her law degree from Indiana University to understand the complexities of a variety of vehicles for charitable giving. Passionate about philanthropy and encouraging students to achieve their goals, she is vice president of education for Lilly Endowment, Inc., where she oversees a broad range of grantmaking activities in elementary, secondary, and higher education to help improve Indiana’s educational attainment levels. She has previously worked in advancement for the University of Denver, San Joaquin College of Law, and the Indiana University Foundation, and as the coordinator for corporate contributions at Procter and Gamble Company.

Cobb is a board member of the Arthur Jordan Foundation and St. Luke’s United Methodist church, and a committee member with the United Way of Central Indiana.


Andrew Manar

Andrew Maner

BA 1991, Brian Lamb School of Communication and Political Science

Combining his experience in government service with technological expertise and management skills, Andrew Maner has worked in a variety of sectors related to national security. Currently IBM’s Global Business Services Public Sector Practice Federal Leader, he provides solutions for federal clients in data center consolidation, predictive analytics, enterprise content management, and smarter buildings and infrastructure.

He has served in several capacities in both Bush administrations, as an assistant to the U.N. envoy to Somalia, and in U.S. Customs and the Department of Homeland Security. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University and has worked for tech companies ICG Commerce, Aligne, Inc., and his firm, National Interest Security Company, where as CEO he managed its acquisition by IBM.

Maner is the chairman of the CLA Dean’s Advisory Council and serves on the board of No Greater Sacrifice, a nonprofit that dedicates scholarships for higher education to families of fallen and wounded Service members.


Mary Murcko

Mary Murcko

BA 1986, Brian Lamb School of Communication

Named to Advertising Age’s “A-list” and “Women to Watch List,” Mary Murcko has built a successful career in print and digital media. As president of national sales for Gannett Co., Inc., she is responsible for national advertising revenue across Gannett’s digital and publishing businesses, including USA Today, USA Weekend, Gannett Digital, and U.S. Community Publishing. She previously worked in a variety of positions for Rodale, Inc., the publisher of such popular magazines as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention, and Runner’s World. She has also served as publisher for W, Elegant Bride, and Hachette Filipacchi Post, where she launched three magazines in the Thai market.

Her dedication to women’s empowerment extends to her community service, where she is an active board member of the YWCA in New York City. She also serves on the board of Cosmetic Executive Women and is a member of the Advertising Women of New York.

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