Theresa Carter was appointed to the Board of Trustees in July 2020. She is a distinguished military graduate of Purdue’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and went on to serve 31 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, retiring at the rank of Major General in 2016. She currently works as an independent consultant providing strategic leadership and management advisory services to the Department of Defense and corporate clients and remains engaged as a mentor to current and future Airmen.
During her Air Force career, Theresa commanded a squadron, group, two wings, and a center which ranged in size from 400 to over 8,000 personnel. In addition, she served as the installation commander for Joint Base San Antonio, the largest joint base in the Department of Defense. She was the first female civil engineering officer promoted to brigadier general and first to serve as the Air Force Civil Engineer, the career field’s highest-ranking officer. Theresa culminated her career by leading the Air Force’s largest/most complex reorganization since 1992, consolidating installation support activities at ten intermediate commands and creating the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center where she served as its first commander.
She was named a Distinguished Engineering Alumna by the Purdue College of Engineering in 2013, inducted into the Purdue ROTC Hall of Fame in 2011 and earned the Purdue School of Industrial Engineering’s Outstanding Industrial Engineer award in 2010. Theresa currently serves as a member of the board for Purdue University Global, the Purdue Applied Research Institute, and the Purdue Alumni Association. In addition, she previously served on Purdue’s Industrial Engineering Advisory Council. She returns to campus frequently to speak with engineering and AFROTC students and served as the commencement speaker for Purdue’s 2018 Winter Commencement ceremonies.
Theresa earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (BSIE) from Purdue in 1985. She also holds a Master of Science (Industrial Engineering) from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Science (National Resource Strategy) from National Defense University, a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Drexel University, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she is licensed as a professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.