Dr. Sam Cordes joined Purdue University in 2003 and served in the following capacities: Associate Vice Provost for Engagement; Co-Director, Center for Regional Development; Assistant Director and Program Leader, Cooperative Extension; Professor of Agricultural Economics.
Dr. Cordes’ programmatic focus at Purdue is on regional economic development and rural community and economic development. The programs he led received national awards and accolades and significant external funding from both Federal and state sources, e.g., a $15 million Workforce Innovation and Regional Economic Development grant from the U. S. Department of Labor; and several million dollars in funding from the U. S. Economic Development Administration.
Dr. Cordes received his BS and PhD degrees in Agricultural Economics from South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Washington State University (WSU), respectively. While earning his graduate degree at WSU, he served as Executive Director of Governor Evans’ Task Force on Rural Affairs. He then joined the faculty of Penn State University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. His professional work at Penn State was in the area of community and economic development, with particular emphasis on rural health care delivery.
In 1985, Dr. Cordes was named Professor of Agricultural Economics and Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Wyoming. In 1989, he assumed the same position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and at UNL he also founded and served as the initial Director of the Center for Rural Community Revitalization and the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center.
Other professional roles and responsibilities have included (a) Senior Associate with the International Programs Division within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL (b)
Shared Faculty Appointment with the Cooperative State Research, Extension, and Education Service, USDA (c) Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Fellow and Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin; and (d) Visiting Scholar at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Dr. Cordes has written or co-authored more than 200 publications, including books/monographs, book chapters and refereed journal articles; and has held various professional leadership roles, for example, serving on the Executive Board of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
Dr. Cordes has played an active role in the creation and development of several major organizations and initiatives, including the Purdue Center for Regional Development; Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs; Indiana Cooperative Development Center; RUPRI; Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics; National Association of Agricultural Economics Administrators; American Rural Health Association; National Rural Health Association (NRHA); and the Journal of Rural Health.
Dr. Cordes received a number of prestigious awards and honors, including the Distinguished Researcher Award from NRHA; the RUPRI Founders Award; the first recipient of WSU’s Graduate Alumni Achievement Award; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from SDSU.
Dr. Cordes was born in South Dakota. He attended a one-room school near the family ranch for grades 1-8 before graduating from Sturgis high school where he was an all-state wrestler. He was also heavily involved in rodeo competition (as a bull rider) until he began his academic career at Penn State.