Clare Boothe Luce grant to support incoming female student


The Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program of the Henry Luce Foundation recently awarded Purdue a $300,000 grant to support two incoming female graduate students, one in the College of Engineering and one in the College of Science, for two years each starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

Promising students intending to study any area of engineering or science (except biological, medical and health sciences) and pursue a faculty career will be eligible, with priority given to those interested in mechanical engineering or mathematics.

The grant is from a bequest made by Clare Boothe Luce (1903-87), a pioneering female journalist, diplomat and politician. Luce, the widow of Henry R. Luce, publisher of TimeLifeFortune, and Sports Illustrated, was a versatile author, best known for her 1936 Broadway play “The Women,” which had a 40-member all-female cast. She also worked as managing editor of Vanity Fair, and was a war correspondent for Life magazine. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut (1942). In 1953, she became the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post, when she was named U.S. Ambassador to Italy. Luce was instrumental in the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission (1947). President Ronald Reagan awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983, the first female member of Congress to receive this award.

Since its first grants in 1989, the CBL Program has become one of the single most significant sources of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering in the U.S. “I select such fields of endeavor in recognition that women today have already entered the fields of medicine, law, business and the arts, and in order to encourage more women to enter the fields of science,” Luce said of her bequest.

Students who are U.S. citizens and are applying to Purdue’s Colleges of Engineering and Science will automatically be placed in a pool and considered for the Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellowship, among other possible fellowships. The CBL Fellowship Program at Purdue will be administered by College of Engineering Professors Patricia Davies and Klod Kokini and College of Science Professors Christie Sahley and Gregory Buzzard.