Jim Tompkins has a longstanding relationship with Purdue University, receiving his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the home of the Boilermakers. It’s where he met one of the early pioneers of industrial engineering—and a professional idol of his—Lillian Gilbreth.
Over the years, Jim has shown his support for his alma mater and commitment to the field of industrial engineering, with his latest contribution being the Tompkins Chair of Systems. Abhijit Deshmukh, Purdue graduate and the James J. Solberg Head of the School of Industrial Engineering, has been named the inaugural Tompkins Chair of Systems.
“It is an incredible honor for me to be carry the title with the name of someone I respect, admire and look-up to as a role model,” said Deshmukh.
In addition to the new Tompkins Chair of Systems, Jim and his wife, Shari, have helped advance industrial engineering education through the creation of numerous scholarships, the Tompkins Rising Star Professorship and the Tompkins Learning Center, where teaching assistants can provide additional support for undergraduate and graduate students in a small group environment. Jim also currently serves on the Industrial Engineering Advisory Council and the College of Engineering Advisory Council.
Despite his countless contributions to the university, Jim says it is Purdue that has given everything to him.
"The engineering education I received at Purdue University is the building block upon which I have built my business, career and life," said Tompkins, whose passion for industrial engineering began when he was just a sophomore in high school.
For more than 45 years, Jim has helped shape the industry, sharing his thought leadership and positioning companies for long-term profitable growth. As chairman and CEO of Tompkins International, Jim provides clients with innovative, end-to-end solutions to achieve supply chain reinvention and ensure business longevity in an increasingly digital world.