CountryMark President and CEO Charlie Smith participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to unveil the newly upgraded Unit Operations Laboratory for the Purdue University School of Chemical Engineering. The school raised $550,000 for the project in order to bring the lab to the same state-of-the-art level as all the other laboratories located in Forney Hall on the West Lafayette campus. CountryMark donated $25,000 to the project, which finished renovations this summer. Students can now be educated using laboratory equipment and experiments designed for today’s industrial reality. “We see great value in the chemical engineering program at Purdue,” said Charlie Smith, who also serves on the Purdue University Industrial Advisory Council. “One of its greatest strengths is the ability to introduce a world class education to students with a deep-seeded Midwestern work ethic. The synergy of these two components creates extraordinary talent that we seek at CountryMark, and is sought by manufacturing companies worldwide.”
Purdue University is home to one of the largest chemical engineering programs in the United States, with 30 faculty members, 530 undergraduate students and 142 graduate students. During the 2012-13 academic year, 138 BS and 22 PhD degrees were granted. “On behalf of Purdue’s School of Chemical Engineering, I am deeply grateful to CountryMark and our distinguished alumnus Charles E. Smith, for this contribution to upgrade our Unit Operations Laboratory. This laboratory course is taken by all chemical engineering seniors, and is a cornerstone of our curriculum,” said Arvind Varma, the Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head of Chemical Engineering and R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor. “I am also pleased that CountryMark will join our School’s Industrial Advisory Council (IAC) starting this fall. CountryMark’s presence on the IAC will help strengthen its ties with our School, and contribute significantly to the IAC’s mission.”
The Industrial Advisory Council was initiated in 1988 through the leadership support of senior executives to advance and improve the education and professional preparation of Purdue’s chemical engineers, and to meet industry demands in the 21st century.
CountryMark is an American-owned oil exploration, production, refining and marketing company with headquarters in Indianapolis. The CountryMark refinery, located in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, processes 27,000 barrels of American crude oil per day. In addition to oil refining and logistics, CountryMark operates more than 1,400 oil wells, which produce daily 3,500 barrels of American crude oil. CountryMark fuels and a proprietary line of lubricants are sold through a distribution channel of member cooperatives that operate more than 180 fuel delivery routes and are responsible for more than 100 CountryMark branded fuel stations.