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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 Science and one in the College of Engineering, for two years each starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

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

The Clare Boothe Luce program was established with 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 Time, Life, Fortune, 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, making her the first female member of Congress to receive this award.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Engineering to provide this outstanding opportunity for our female graduate students,” said Patrick J. Wolfe, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of Science and the Miller Family Professor of Statistics. “Independent funds for research can be very difficult to acquire at the beginning of our graduate careers. The Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship allows us to support the groundbreaking ideas of brilliant female scientists at the moment they enter our graduate programs. We’re grateful for this generous fellowship and the incredible vision of Clare Boothe Luce to encourage and support women in science.”

“Graduate students are essential to both the education and research missions at Purdue Engineering. We must continue to encourage and support female graduate students in engineering, and we are so grateful for this outstanding fellowship from the Clare Boothe Luce Program, named after a true pioneer of female leadership in the world,” says Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering.

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 Science and Engineering 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 Klod Kokini and Patricia Davies and College of Science Professors Christie Sahley, Gregery Buzzard, and Donatella Danielli-Garofalo.

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