Mrs. Ott grew up in rural southern Indiana and attended Indiana University in the early 1950’s. During her time at Indiana University, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education and met her husband, Leland, who at the time was working towards his degree in Marketing.
After completing 2 year of military service, Dr. Leland Ott returned to Bloomington to work on his MBA in Marketing, earning the degree in the fall of 1955. Shortly after, he accepted a staff position at Purdue University in the Agricultural Economics Department, and began working on a PhD in Agricultural Economics. On June 24, 1956, Dr. and Mrs. Ott married and began their lives together in West Lafayette.
Leland Ott embarked on a successful career spanning academia, government, and corporate America. He served on the faculty at Cornell University’s Agriculture Economics Department. He conducted marketing research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Kennedy Administration. Later, he became vice president of the marketing research for General Foods Corporation. After serving as vice president of marketing research for Grey Advertising in New York City, he began his own marketing research consulting firm, Leland E. Ott and Associates, in New York City.
In November 2009, Mrs.Ott announced her $500,000 pledge to the matching gift Presidential and Trustee Scholarship program. Her gift will be matched dollar for dollar, ultimately creating a $1 million dollar endowment in Agricultural Economics. The Dr. Leland E. Ott Memorial Scholarship will provide 4-5 full ride scholarships annually for undergraduate students studying Agricultural Economics.
Mrs. Ott’s memorial scholarship gift honoring Dr. Ott will greatly contribute to the continued success of Agricultural Economics and will directly impact the lives of Purdue students in the years to come.
Evelyn Ott’s connection to Purdue extends well beyond fond memories, old friends, and even new scholarships. One of the couple’s two sons, David, graduated from the College of Agriculture in 1982. One of their five grandchildren, William Ott, is currently a senior at Purdue in the College of Technology.
Mrs. Ott resides in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where she remains an ardent Boilermaker fan and active in the area’s large Falls City Purdue Alumni Association chapter.