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Purdy Challenge Announced

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Alumni couple starts endowed fund and pledges to match all gifts to the fund up to $50,000.

A generous alumni couple recently established the Purdy Endowed Fund for Collaborative Research to recognize Dr. Jesse E. Purdy’s thirty-five years of teaching at Southwestern. They also structured the fund to express their appreciation of Dr. Purdy’s long-standing commitment to ensuring that collaborative research work remains an integral part of his students’ undergraduate experience. Dr. Purdy has taught at Southwestern since 1978 with a specialization in animal learning and animal behavior. He served as a Brown Distinguished Research Professor from 1999-2003, and as the John H. Duncan Chair in the Department of Psychology from 2004-2009. His research on cuttlefish was featured on the national PBS program NOVA in 2007 and the Discovery Channel’s World of Wonder program in 1996. View the program “Kings of Camouflage” on NOVA’s website.

Designed to provide permanent funding for faculty-student collaborative research in Psychology and Animal Behavior, the Purdy Endowed Fund will greatly expand the availability of one-on-one lab and field research opportunities for students working alongside their faculty in these departments. Dr. Purdy maintains a very active research program that involves students extensively in investigating and understanding basic animal learning processes in aquatic animals. Research is undertaken both at Southwestern’s own Aquatic Animal Research Laboratory and at numerous sites across the country and in Canada. Read a past article about one such student’s research experience in Australia

Collaborative research is an essential element in completing a student’s experience in the Psychology and Animal Behavior departments. Collaborative efforts produce significant benefits for students pursing graduate studies, and for both students and faculty to expand their own bodies of research, to present at major conferences and to secure opportunities for publication. During his teaching career, Dr. Purdy has authored and co-authored over 30 articles and made over 40 professional presentations with his students.

Endowments require a minimum of $25,000 to begin awarding funding but higher levels of endowment provide additional potential to fund multiple and/or significantly larger projects annually. The couple who established this fund has agreed to match every gift up to $50,000, so your gift today can make a huge impact on Southwestern’s Psychology and Animal Behavior programs. Please help to ensure that outstanding collaborative research opportunities remain a key part of the Southwestern experience for years to come by making a gift or pledge on our secure online giving page.