Cummins Chair and CEO Jennifer Rumsey is one of two Boilermaker alumni to receive Purdue honorary doctorates

WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University will award two alumni with honorary doctorates during commencement ceremonies taking place at Elliott Hall of Music from Friday to Sunday (May 10-12).

Carolyn Woo, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services, will receive an honorary doctorate of management from the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business during the ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Jennifer Rumsey, chair and CEO of Cummins Inc., will receive an honorary doctorate of engineering from the College of Engineering during the ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Rumsey oversees the strategic direction, growth initiatives and global operations for the 105-year-old, Columbus, Indiana-based Cummins Inc., which has more than 75,500 employees worldwide and achieved $34.1 billion in revenue in 2023.

Rumsey has focused her 25-year career on advancing technologies and bringing products to market that power customers’ success and make a positive difference in the world. She was recognized in 2020 by the Society of Women Engineers for her contributions to engineering and efforts to create environments that attract and retain more women engineers. She was inducted as a Society of Automotive Engineers fellow in 2022, and in 2023 she received the Women Business Collaborative’s CEO Excellence in Gender Equity and Diversity Award, in addition to being recognized as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women.

Rumsey earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1996 and a master of science in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998.

Woo’s ties to Purdue began in 1972, when she arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong as a student, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in industrial administration and a doctoral degree in strategic management by 1979.

After two years in industry, Woo was recruited back to the university as a faculty member and then administrator, first as director of master’s programs in the School of Business and then as associate executive vice president for academic affairs. Under her leadership, the Krannert School of Management master’s program achieved a top 20 ranking in Businessweek.

From 1997-2011, Woo served as dean of Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. In 2012 she became CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S., serving in the role until 2016.

Woo is recognized for her teaching, research, service and leadership through numerous awards and honorary doctorates. She was cited as one of Change magazine’s Top Forty Leaders Under Forty and, in 2013, was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the 500 Most Powerful People on the Planet.

Woo is a frequent contributor to “Give Us This Day” and the author of two books, “Working for a Better World” and “Rising: Learning From Women’s Leadership in Catholic Ministries.”

Commencement division dates and times

The spring 2024 graduating class will include 8,284 undergraduates, 2,323 graduate students, 210 students from professional programs and 244 students from Purdue Polytechnic’s statewide programs.

Purdue President Mung Chiang will attend all eight ceremonies and deliver the keynote speech at each. Each ceremony will also feature a student responder. 

  • Division I — Friday, May 10, 9:30 a.m., College of Health and Human Sciences
  • Division II — Friday, May 10, 2:30 p.m., College of Education and Purdue Polytechnic Institute
  • Division III — Friday, May 10, 7 p.m., College of Science
  • Division IV — Saturday, May 11, 9:30 a.m., College of Engineering (Civil Engineering; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Education, including Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies and Multidisciplinary Engineering; Industrial Engineering; Materials Engineering)
  • Division V — Saturday, May 11, 2:30 p.m., College of Agriculture and College of Engineering (Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental and Ecological Engineering)
  • Division VI — Saturday, May 11, 7 p.m., College of Engineering (Construction Engineering and Management, Chemical Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering)
  • Division VII — Sunday, May 12, 9:30 a.m., Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business and College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Division VIII — Sunday, May 12, 2:30 p.m., College of Pharmacy and College of Liberal Arts

The doors to Elliott Hall of Music will open 90 minutes before each ceremony, and tickets are required for entry. Each graduation candidate may request up to four tickets. Only clear bags or small clutch bags are permitted in Elliott Hall of Music, and all bags will be checked. More information can be found at Spring Commencement FAQs. The ceremonies will be livestreamed from the Purdue News YouTube channel and linked on the Purdue commencement website before each ceremony begins.