Electrical Engineering Alums Support Successful Initiatives for Underrepresented Minorities

Don and Liz Thompson give back to the longstanding Minority Engineering Program.

Ask Don (BSEE ’84) and Liz (BSEE ’85) Thompson how they ended up choosing Purdue, and the answer comes back quickly and in unison: “Marion Blalock.”

The couple credits the long-time and now retired director of the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) with personally introducing them to opportunities for African-American students in the College of Engineering, encouraging them on their personal academic journeys and ultimately inspiring their ongoing financial support of the program.

“A major part of my involvement with MEP as a student was visiting Marion in her office,” Don says. “She would review how you’re doing, and she’d know if things weren’t going well. It sort of felt like going to see your mother.”

Liz remembers that feeling well. “One hundred percent of my involvement with MEP revolved around Marion,” she says. “My sophomore year was really tough, and I could hardly bring myself to visit her because I knew she would not be happy with my grades. She held you accountable, but in a way that let you know she cared. You didn’t want to let her down.”

The Thompsons did not.

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