Purdue University has named a Jackson County resident a recipient of the college’s Boilermaker Pride Award.

Mary Lou Siefker, an active member of the Purdue Club of Jackson County, was presented with the honor during the school’s Alumni Association Homecoming Celebration reception Sept. 22 in West Lafayette.

“It was very surprising and humbling because it takes so many people to make a club and all the activities happen,” she said of receiving the award.

During the reception, Purdue President Mitch Daniels addressed the crowd, and the Purdue Glee Club provided entertainment.

“It was a pretty special evening,” Siefker said.

Established in 2005, the award seeks to recognize a Purdue alum who has contributed time and service to the university for more than 10 years and has served as an officer in a local club.

Siefker has been an active member of the Purdue Club of Jackson County since it first organized in the 1980s. After several years of being inactive, the club reorganized in 2007 and Siefker served as president of the board for several years.

During her tenure, the club’s membership grew. It has been recognized as a Gold level club for 10 consecutive years, giving away $50,000 in scholarships to Jackson County students attending Purdue.

“There are a lot of great Purdue graduates in our county and a lot of students who are going to Purdue and what’s really important is spreading the word about what is available at Purdue and helping those students find their way,” she said.

Also during the homecoming weekend, Siefker attended a leadership conference of club leaders from across the nation and learned about preparations for Purdue’s upcoming 150th anniversary.

Siefker graduated from Purdue’s Consumer and Family Science School in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design. She started her own business, Design Associates, in 1988 and remains active in the company today, providing solutions for residential, commercial and business design.

Along with her business, Siefker is very active in the community volunteering for several organizations. She is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour, serving as chair of the church’s foundation board.

For more than 35 years, she’s also been involved in Boy Scouts, serving on the board of directors of the local Hoosier Trails Council for 30 years.

The Purdue Club of Jackson County is open to any local supporter of Purdue University. Members can participate in all club activities, which include volunteering during Jackson County United Way’s annual Day of Caring and helping with other local projects including Habitat for Humanity and the Orphan Grain Train.

Another popular activity the club participates in is the annual Seymour Oktoberfest Parade.

The Purdue Club of Jackson County will have its annual meeting in February, which serves as a scholarship fundraiser. There also will be local game watching events during the college basketball season and a student get together and send off event in June 2018.

For information on how to get involved with the Purdue Club of Jackson County, visit the group’s Facebook page or contact club President Chuck Gordon at 812-525-9346 or owndirt@yahoo.com.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.