This year's department picnic included a surprise announcement. John Sautter from the Purdue Alumni Association and members of his staff attended the event and awarded the Special Boilermake Award to Professor Tom Turpin. John wrote: "The Special Boilermaker Award was established by the Purdue Alumni Association in 1981 to recognize and honor special people who have contributed significantly to the improvement of the quality of life and the betterment of the educational experience for a substantial number of students.
"Reading from the nominations: 'Professor Turpin has been Purdue’s ambassador at state, national and international levels to hundreds of thousands of students, parents, teachers and friends of Purdue. He is well known as one of the best teachers at Purdue and has just about every teaching award to prove it. He has produced videos, conducted workshops, created games and cartoons, and makes regular appearances on television and radio programs. He created “Bug Bowl” for what is now Spring Fest, one on Purdue’s premier community engagement events that draws 30 to 40 thousand people to campus every year. Dr. Turpin’s imagination, enthusiasm, and passion for education have inspired and motivated all of us, making him very special . . . a Special Boilermaker.'
"Professor Turpin will officially be recognized as a Special Boilermaker on the football field during the October 12th Nebraska football game and will receive our attractive sculpture of a Purdue locomotive and have his name inscribed on the University Awards Pillar on Engineering Mall."