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Gift supports endowed chair, student support fund in Purdue's agricultural economics department

Purdue University's Department of Agricultural Economics has received a gift that will endow a faculty chair and financially support a variety of student learning opportunities in the department.

The nonprofit Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation has donated $1.5 million to create endowments to fund both the Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation Chair in Food and Agricultural Marketing and a student support fund. The $1 million gift for the chair will be matched through the College of Agriculture Endowed Chair Challenge Matching Gift Program to create a $2 million endowment, while the remaining $500,000 will create the student fund.

“Through this gift, we will be able to recruit and retain a faculty member to play a critical role in conducting research, education and extension in the area of agricultural marketing," said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. "Additionally, the gift will increase educational opportunities outside of the classroom for students in the department."

Plaut recognized the Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation for its gift during the Dean's Club dinner on Dec. 8.

Funding for the endowed chair will be crucial in recruiting an expert in areas such as agricultural commodity markets, risk management, consumer demand, food and agricultural systems, industrial organization and price analysis, said Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. In addition to research, the new faculty member will serve as a mentor to junior faculty and graduate students, and will contribute to teaching at the graduate and undergraduate level. The individual also will engage with stakeholders to communicate the implications of their research.

The Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation Student Support Fund will increase the number of transformational educational experiences available to agricultural economics students. It will help fund activities such as participation in academic competitions, employment opportunities for student workers in research, travel expenses to expose students to food and agricultural production distribution, or the creation and adoption of unique learning environments.

"What makes this gift so amazing is that it impacts every area of our department's mission," Lusk said. "Our new faculty member will engage in research, teaching and outreach, while the student fund will enable students to pursue opportunities they might not otherwise have had access to that will expand their educational horizons."

The Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation provides grants to recognized and acceptable charitable organizations.

Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics has over 40 faculty members and more than 500 undergraduate and 140 graduate students. It is ranked as the world's No. 4 agricultural economics department and boasts a 99 percent placement rate for undergraduates entering the workforce.

Its faculty specialize in farm management and finance, agribusiness strategy, commodity marketing, international trade, farm and food policy, international development and health and environmental economics. The department is home to the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, Center for Commercial Agriculture, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Indiana Council for Economic Education, and the Purdue Initiative for Family Firms. In addition, the department is affiliated with the Purdue Center for Regional Development and State Utility Forecasting Group.  

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