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Purdue Alumni Association Elections

Board of Directors and Trustee

For more than 140 years, the Purdue Alumni Association has existed to connect graduates to each other and to advance Purdue University. With the responsibility to connect, inspire, and serve more than 575,000 alumni, the board strives to represent the diversity and broad interests of all Purdue alumni—in the United States and around the world. The board represents a wide variety of skill sets, executive competencies, and strategically aligned experiences to lead the organization.

The 2021 Purdue Alumni Association board and trustee elections will take place from 8:00 a.m. ET on Monday, May 3, to 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, May 7. Members will elect two directors and one trustee; each will serve a three-year term commencing July 1. Directors and trustees serve without compensation.

The worldwide alumni population is divided into geographic districts. Members are eligible to vote for a director from the district in which they reside; all members are eligible to vote for the trustee.

Members must first register to vote by creating a Purdue Connect online account. This website is managed by the Purdue for Life Foundation and verifies membership in the Purdue Alumni Association. To register, visit connect.purdue.edu/s/login.

To request a paper ballot, contact Jillian Henry, corporate secretary, at jmhenry@purdueforlife.org. Paper ballots must be completed and mailed directly to the Purdue Alumni Association by the voting member. Distributing a ballot which has been modified in any way from its original form is prohibited and will invalidate that ballot. All ballots must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, May 7. Election results will be announced at the 2021 annual meeting on Friday, June 11.

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Board of Directors Candidates

UNITED STATES CENTRAL (BY STATE)—ONE OPENING

Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin

JIM OVERMAN (ME’80)
HOUSTON, TEXAS

Overman joined Shell Oil after graduating from Purdue and retired in 2019. He serves on Purdue’s Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council and is an active reviewer for the University’s EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) service-learning program. He received the College of Engineering Alumni Loyalty Award in 2015. An active volunteer, Overman served as vice president of the Purdue Alumni Club of Houston and treasurer of Bay Area Turning Point, a nonprofit advocating to end domestic and sexual violence in Bay Area Houston. He is a certified mentor for the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and a consultant for the Executive Service Corps Houston (ESCH). He is a life member of the Purdue Alumni Association and a member of President’s Council.


KENYON SAYLER (ME’81)
ROSEVILLE, MINNESOTA

Sayler recently retired from 3M, where he led a team responsible for North American manufacturing. He has served on the finance committee of Centennial United Methodist Church and as treasurer of his fraternal organization. An active member of Boy Scouts of America, Sayler has led several high-adventure trips and served on the Council Advancement Committee. He has taught classes to prepare engineers for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. As an out-of-state student, Sayler chose Purdue for its world-class engineering program. He is a life member of the Purdue Alumni Association and President’s Council and a member of the John Purdue Club. 


UNITED STATES WEST (BY STATE) AND INTERNATIONAL—ONE OPENING

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, all United States territories, and all countries other than the United States

KHALIL ALAMI (LA’99)
AMMAM, JORDAN

Running for his first term, Alami is a second-generation Boilermaker who hopes to advance the University’s mission to its global alumni. He founded the Purdue Alumni Network of Jordan in 2001 and has hosted events with the dean of International Programs, recruited international students, and represented Purdue at numerous university fairs. Alami is considered a go-to resource for Purdue across the Middle East, and he advises prospective students, counsels current students, and liaises with the Office of International Students and Scholars and engineering schools. He has more than two decades of financial-services experience and now heads the leading online-payment gateway in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Telr, as its CEO. He is an annual member of the Purdue Alumni Association.


KATHERINE PILOT (LA’02)
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Running for her second term, Pilot has just finished her first year as a member of the Leadership Development and Nominating Committee for the Purdue Alumni board. As a student, she was a leader within her sorority and a four-year member of the “All-American” Marching Band’s Golduster Dance Team, and she was recognized on the honor roll and Dean’s List. Her civic and social activities include Heal the Bay and Tour de Pier, and she serves on the board of directors for the Big Ten Club of Southern California as the Purdue chair. With more than a decade of leadership with the Purdue Alumni Club of Los Angeles and Orange County, Pilot continues to actively volunteer. She is an annual member of the Purdue Alumni Association.


Alumni Trustee Candidate

The trustee, one of three elected by current members of the Purdue Alumni Association, will serve a three-year term on the Purdue University Board of Trustees commencing July 1. As stated in the Purdue Alumni Association bylaws Article IX, the board of directors serves as the nominating committee for alumni representatives of the corporation on the Purdue University Board of Trustees as provided by law. As such, the board has endorsed one candidate through an election conducted at the fall board meeting. Other members of the alumni association may also run for the position of alumni trustee as defined in the bylaws by certifying their nomination at least 90 days prior to the annual meeting. For the 2021 election, no additional nominees were submitted.

VANESSA J. CASTAGNA (HHS’71)
NAPLES, FLORIDA

After spending four decades as an executive at Fortune 50 retail companies, including Walmart and Target, and one decade as an independent board member for consumer-products companies, Castagna now uses her impact and experience as a retail consultant, an advisor for MyNextSeason, and as an alumni trustee for Purdue University.

Castagna served as CEO of JCPenney stores and direct and chairwoman of Mervyn’s department stores; she also held senior-level merchandising positions with Walmart and Target stores. She was honored many times within the retail and apparel-manufacturing industries and recognized for her support of educational opportunities for young individuals in retail careers. She has been listed among Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” four times and Forbes magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women” twice.

Throughout her career, Castagna has served on numerous boards, including Levi Strauss & Co., Carter’s/OshKosh, and Speed FC. She has also served as chair of Purdue Bands & Orchestras Advisory Board and chair of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others, Castagna has dedicated much of her time to volunteer work. She was essential in the development of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s after-school program, transforming it into a national program. She has volunteered with the Children’s Miracle Network, Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health, the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, United Way, and the American Red Cross.

Castagna was recognized as an outstanding alumna by Purdue Bands & Orchestras, received a College of Health and Human Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award, and participated in the Old Masters Program. As a member of the Purdue University Board of Trustees, she serves on the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, is chair of the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee, and is a member of the board’s Executive Committee. As a student, Castagna was a majorette/twirler with the “All-American” Marching Band and a clarinet player with the Concert Band. Her current focus has been dedicated to the vision of a new Bands & Orchestras facility in the heart of campus—Hagle Hall—which is expected to open in fall 2022. She is a life member of the Purdue Alumni Association.