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Fall 2002 - Mrs. Jischke

Destination Purdue > Fall 2002 - Mrs. Jischke

A chat with Mrs. Jischke

By Whitney Copeland

Even though Patty Jischke hasn't been Purdue University's first lady for long, it didn't take much time for her to catch the Purdue Spirit.

Mrs. Patty Jischke

Photo by Whitney Copeland

Mrs. Patty Jischke stands outside of the Westwood Estate. She assists in taking care of a new flower-cutting garden at the President's estate. The garden's purpose is to always have blossoms to be used in the house for decoration.

Being the President's wife, Mrs. Jischke is like a proud parent of the University, and she is thrilled with what's happening here at Purdue. "We, at Purdue, are working hard and are making the world a better place," Jischke said. "The essence of Purdue is one of the high-minded, hard working, high intelligence and trust. There is a lot of respect - students for faculty and faculty for students," she said.

Purdue's faculty and the diversity of students are part of what makes Purdue so special. According to Jischke, the strong staffa and the will of the students make the success evident here. "The faculty are some of the leaders in their fields," Jischke said. "They are learning, creating, finding and discovering new ideas and then sharing them with students from all over the world."

One of the fields Mrs. Jischke is excited about is agriculture. "I enjoy the differences in agriculture, I enjoy the development of crops and plants," Jischke said. One of her favorite hobbies is working in her vegetable garden and conducting experiments to see what will grow well on the Westwood Estate, the Purdue President's home. This year, she worked with many varieties of tomatoes and peppers.

Besides gardening, Mrs. Jischke's other interests include Heifer Project International (HPI). Formed after the Spanish Civil War, HPI sends bred female animals such as goats, rabbits and heifers to needy families in Third World countries. The only stipulation is that the families pass on the first female animal born to someone else in that community. This is called "passing on the gift."

The families who receive these gifts use the products of the animals to improve their overall welfare, such as economic and health status. The gifts also can give parents the opportunity to give their children an education. When the opportunity to receive an education comes about, many of these parents will continue to sacrifice things for themselves in order for their children to be able to learn what their parents never could.

"As George Washington Carver said, 'Education is the golden key to freedom.' It really is. Everybody all over the world knows that, maybe even better than Americans do," Jischke said. Mrs. Jischke fell in love with HPI after researching it for her Presbyterian women's group when she lived in Missouri. She now speaks on behalf of the organization and also does fundraising for them.

"They have helped more than two million families in the world," Jischke said. "Compared to the 900 million families that go to bed hungry every night, it is a small start, but it is a good start."

From helping with HPI to planting vegetables in her garden on the President's estate, Mrs. Jischke is very excited to see what the future may hold at Purdue and around the world. "I am so proud of all the things that we are doing here," she said. "It is just a green revolution."