Monday, May 07, 2007

Viva La France!

France A. Córdova takes the stage at Loeb Playhouse this afternoon, after being named as Purdue's 11th President! More here.

Now chancellor of UC Riverside, she starts in August. Her speech and Q&A were marvelous, and exciting to many of us. She spoke of a more inclusive campus, and said repeatedly she was a listener. She has an easy grace and a sense of humor. A petite woman with a terrific smile.

A former NASA space scientist and professor of physics, she has been a department head at Penn State and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara. The oldest of 12 children, Córdova is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and a fifth-generation Irish-American. She earned her undergraduate degree in English from Stanford, and decided afterwards to pursue her longstanding interest in science by getting a PhD in physics at Cal Tech.

She was inspired as a young woman by Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon in July 1969. Armstrong is a Purdue alumnus, and a new, dramatic, engineering building named after him is being finished on the north end of campus.

. Armstrong Hall

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