Purdue University’s Ukrainian Scholars Initiative Receives Heritage Group Gift

Gift will extend 9 scholars’ stay in the US through May 2024

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University program launched in March to provide Ukrainian scholars an opportunity to continue their academic pursuits here during the ongoing Russian invasion of their home country has received a grant from The Heritage Group to extend the initiative into May 2024.

The Indianapolis-based Heritage Group is donating $270,000 to support all nine participants in Purdue’s Ukrainian Scholars Initiative for another academic year. This extends funding through the Spring 2024 semester, officials with Purdue and Heritage Group announced Wednesday (Feb. 22). In addition to renewing the program, Purdue officials plan to expand it for a new class of Ukrainian scholars whose academic endeavors remain stalled by Russia’s invasion.

“When President (Mitch) Daniels launched the Ukrainian Scholars Initiative in March 2022, Purdue continued our distinct tradition of welcoming those scholars and students seeking refuge from tyranny and a home for liberty,” said Purdue President Mung Chiang. “We hope the Ukrainian scholars in our community can return to safety and freedom in Ukraine one day soon. In the meantime, through Heritage Group’s resounding support and our firm commitment, we will renew and expand this initiative on a campus for the free minds.”

Purdue established the Ukrainian Scholars Initiative in what was among the first and is now the largest and most ambitious university-led program in the country. The goal: to assist these faculty members and scholars whose academic pursuits have been derailed by the conflict, which marks its one-year anniversary on Friday (Feb. 24).

Of more than 100 applications, Purdue was able to accept approximately 20 individuals. Nine scholars eventually enrolled in the program to resume their research and studies, said Mike Brzezinski, Purdue vice president for global partnerships and programs. Since its March 2022 launch, Brzezinski has led Purdue’s Ukrainian Scholars Initiative along with associate provost Peter Hollenbeck; Amanda Thompson, director of International Scholar Services in Purdue’s International Students and Scholars program; and ISS counselors Chad Broeker and Austin Smith.

The first Ukrainian scholar arrived in May and the ninth was on campus by November, all with the expectation they would be here for at least 12 months.

“For 90 years, the Heritage Group has been committed to building a safer, more enriching and sustainable world by harnessing the power of family,” said Sara Morris, director of strategic initiatives for Heritage Group. “When we saw the war and heartbreak in Ukraine and then learned of Purdue’s efforts to support Ukrainian scholars, we knew immediately we wanted to help. We are fortunate to be able to support this initiative to enrich the lives of the individual Ukrainian scholars, their families, all who come into contact with them at Purdue, and our own team members.”

The Heritage Group expressed an interest in the Purdue program during its very early stages last spring and has been engaged ever since, Brzezinski said. Greg Kapp, vice president for development at Purdue for Life, and Diane Klassen, chief development officer of university initiatives for Purdue Research Foundation, were instrumental in collaborating with Brzezinski to secure the donation from The Heritage Group.

“After the arrival of all of our nine scholars, The Heritage Group was eager to learn more about each individual and to know how they could help,” Brzezinski said. “We’re so very pleased and grateful that they are contributing the majority of funding needed to sponsor each scholar for one year. Individuals from Heritage also are eager to meet our Ukrainian faculty and students, a sign that they are truly interested in their well-being.”

Additionally, the various unit hosts of the scholars within Purdue and the Greater Lafayette community have decided to continue their financial and humanitarian support of the program through May 2024, Brzezinski said. Indeed, as the world marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the strong Purdue-Greater Lafayette community connection has been essential to the success of the program, Brzezinski said.

William and Liesl Shen, Purdue alumni who own Crestview Apartments in West Lafayette, originally set aside 19 units since the spring to be used by the scholars; six scholars live there now. And over 20 families from Faith Church in Lafayette have given their time and resources to furnish the scholars’ apartments.

Through the Purdue program, the Ukrainian visiting scholars are engaging in their own research or supporting research conducted by Purdue faculty members. Additionally, several are enrolled in doctoral programs and at the dissertation research stage of their degree programs. Their impressive scholarship stretches across a diversity of disciplines — from chemistry, library sciences, psychology, linguistics, communication, sociology and neuroscience to political science, management, history, and earth and planetary sciences.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Mike Brzezinski, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu

Sara Morris, saram@thgrp.com

Related story: Ukrainian Grit & Hope: A Traveling Photo Exhibition at Purdue



Taylor Brown Named Finalist In Indy’s Best And Brightest

Taylor Brown, Director of Talent for Heritage Construction + Materials, was named a finalist for the Junior Achievement of Central Indiana’s 19th annual Indy’s Best and Brightest event presented by KPMG LLP. The event honors 100 outstanding young professionals across ten industries in central Indiana.

An awards program and reception to recognize finalists will take place on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in downtown Indianapolis. All 100 finalists will receive an award, and the winners in each category will be announced.

“KPMG is proud to serve as the presenting sponsor for this noteworthy event for the 19th consecutive year. We understand the importance of honoring these young professionals, who also serve as outstanding role models and mentors for the youth of our community,” said Eric Sutphin, KPMG Indianapolis Managing Partner.

Jennifer Burk, Junior Achievement of Central Indiana’s CEO, stated, “These innovative, passionate leaders are changing central Indiana for the better and serve as inspiration for the thousands of young people participating in Junior Achievement.”

The Best and Brightest event was created by Junior Achievement to recognize up-and-coming talent and the next generation of leaders in our community. Finalists in each category are judged on professional accomplishments, civic contributions, character and leadership qualities.

Learn more at www.indysbestandbrightest.org.

See what Inside Indianapolis Business is saying about finalists at https://insideindianabusiness.com/articles/finalists-named-for-indys-best-and-brightest.

About Heritage Construction + Materials

Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M) is part of The Heritage Group, a privately held, family-owned business headquartered in Indianapolis. HC+M has core capabilities in infrastructure building. Its collection of companies provides innovative road construction and materials services across the Midwest. HC+M companies, including Milestone Contractors, Asphalt Materials, Inc., and US Aggregates, proudly employ 3,000 people at 55 locations across seven states. Learn more at www.heritagebuilds.com.


Net Zero Asphalt Pavement Initiative Draws Support from Indiana-Based HC+M

Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M) joined The Road Forward, an industry-wide initiative of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) to achieve net zero carbon emission asphalt pavements.

Through HC+M’s decades of research into pavement preservation technologies, HC+M has proven itself as an industry leader in sustainability efforts. “HC+M is committed to sustainability because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s smart business,” said HC+M CEO Geoff Dillon. “The Road Forward is an important commitment for us and our industry. It shows that we aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves and work to build a better tomorrow for future generations.”

HC+M is a part of The Heritage Group, a 90-year-old family of companies employing more than 5,000 people, serving 170 locations, and innovating through science and research. HC+M is comprised of US Aggregates, Milestone Contractors and Asphalt Materials, Inc.

HC+M companies have a long history of involvement with NAPA. Asphalt Materials joined NAPA in 1961. Milestone, a member since 1967, has earned more than three dozen Quality in Construction Awards and one Sheldon G. Hayes Award, signifying the company’s commitment to quality asphalt pavements.

Similarly, HC+M leaders consistently devote their time and expertise to NAPA and the industry. Heritage Research Group (HRG) Associate Director of Research Gerry Huber has served on numerous NAPA committees and task forces for nearly three decades, including the Sustainability Committee and the
Climate Stewardship Task Force. Gerry and HRG Senior Pavement Materials Research Engineer Katie DeCarlo worked on developing The Road Forward. CJ Potts, COO of HC+M Construction, serves as the Indiana contractor representative on the North Central Advisory Council. Milestone Contractors Asphalt Operations Manager Patrick Fox is a member of NAPA’s Board of Directors. Kevin Kelly, former NAPA chair and lifetime member, and many other HC+M employees are active members of NAPA committees.

“Heritage Construction + Materials, through its family of companies, has displayed a commitment to the asphalt pavement industry over many decades,” said NAPA President and CEO Audrey Copeland, PhD, PE. “HC+M’s support of The Road Forward further propels our collective vision for the future: sustainable communities and commerce, connected by net zero carbon asphalt pavements.”

To learn more about The Road Forward and see all sponsors, visit AsphaltPavement.org/Forward.

About The Road Forward

An initiative of the National Asphalt Pavement Association, The Road Forward: A Vision for Net Zero Carbon Emissions for the Asphalt Pavement Industry calls on the U.S. asphalt community to advance technologies, products, and processes to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Launched in January 2022, the multi-year effort will engage, educate, and empower the U.S. asphalt community to produce and construct net zero carbon emission asphalt pavements.

About Heritage Construction + Materials

Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M) is part of The Heritage Group, a privately held, family-owned business headquartered in Indianapolis that began operations in 1930. HC+M has core capabilities in infrastructure building. Its collection of companies provides innovative road construction and materials services across the Midwest. HC+M companies, including Milestone Contractors, Asphalt Materials, Inc., and US Aggregates, proudly employ 3,000 people at 55 locations across seven states. Learn more at heritagebuilds.com.

About NAPA

The National Asphalt Pavement Association is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the asphalt pavement material producer/contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts 1,100 companies as its members, was founded in 1955. Learn more at asphaltpavement.org.