Dear Purdue and Krannert Community,
I had originally thought about writing my blog about some recent adventures with our partners and alums in India and I’ll do this in the near future. But I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the recent passing of one of our outstanding colleagues and educators, Professor Arnie Cooper. As many of you know, Arnie had been battling illness for a number of years and a few weeks ago, he succumbed. This has been a time for many of us to reflect and I did so myself over the holiday season. We’ve experienced senseless violence in Connecticut, wanton illegal and unethical behavior in Indianapolis with recent reports of arrests, and it presses us to understand how and why these things happen.
But then you get a chance to reflect on the life of someone like Neil Armstrong or our own Arnie Cooper – both tremendous exemplars of Purdue University’s very best. Arnie’s accolades were numerous and I can’t do justice to them all but it’s important to stress his professional accomplishments did not outweigh his personal and community contributions. If there is truly a sense of a renaissance scholar and thinker, it was Arnie.
At his memorial service, I was struck by various descriptions and comments made about Arnie from a number of people. In particular, the minister who had met with Arnie on the day of his passing relayed a wonderful, and I’m told a very “Arnie,” comment. When Arnie was asked how he was doing and if he was alright, he commented that this was a great day for him because he was with his family and friends.
We may not be able to trade in the petty, nasty and downright horrible people who haunt us with the “Arnies” in our lives (we must endure the bitter with the better I guess), but knowing the “Arnies” gives us all reason to push ahead and try to live up to his standards of excellence.
I wish you all the very best as we go forward in this new year.
Dean, Krannert School of Management