Being a Boilermaker is a family affair for Mark Loepker. Purdue is the alma mater of his late father, Isadore; his brother, Thomas (BS ’80, Building Construction Technology); and his sisters, Linda Hasser (BS ’74, Education and MS ’77, College of Liberal Arts) and Lois Rausch (BS ’74, Education and MS ’82, Education). Loepker even met his wife, Sandy (BA ’77, College of Liberal Arts), on campus.
When Mark Loepker chose Purdue in the early 1970s to begin the first of his three degrees, technology wasn’t his only motivation.
“My interest in music, especially vocal performance, was a prime reason for selecting Purdue,” says Loepker. “As a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club, I learned how to manage school work and performance schedules, while still maintaining a busy social life.”
That’s not to say Loepker didn’t make time for other interests while on campus.
“Combining academics, Glee Club and Air Force ROTC was valuable preparation for what lay ahead and gave me confidence to pursue a master’s degree in business.”
He chose the College of Technology for his electrical engineering technology (EET) studies because he enjoyed the applied aspects of engineering.
“Making things work and fixing those that do not, always interested me,” he says. “Coming from aviation electronics technology, the EET bachelor program was a perfect fit.”
Loepker took advantage of his innate multi-tasking skills and the technological knowledge he acquired at Purdue to make the world a safer place.
“The work accomplished over my 43-year career in the Air Force and National Security Agency helped to protect and defend our nation’s most highly classified networks and information systems. Serving as a Missile Combat Crew officer in the Air Force demanded discipline and attention to detail. Subsequent assignments in nuclear research and development utilized my cross-disciplinary education in nuclear engineering. I was well-prepared to oversee technically complex programs supporting national defense.”
Loepker also assisted in initiating educational standards sustained in the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, of which Purdue is a designated Research institution.
“My current work with the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation, Home of the National Cryptologic Museum, expands that same work and impact to K-12 schools and students.”
With more than 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs, Loepker’s work is critical to ensuring our country does not lose its leadership and security in cyber development and implementation.
Music still connects Loepker to Purdue, who holds a position on the Purdue Musical Organizations Alumni Advisory Board. He and his wife, Sandy (BS Liberal Arts, ’77), live in Odenton, Maryland. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their daughters Andrea and Amanda (HHS ’07), sons-in-law, and grandchildren.