Sam Cordes joined Purdue University in 2003 and has two roles: Assistant Director of Extension and Co-Director of the Center for Regional Development. His career in higher education has focused on rural policy and community and economic development. He is a native of South Dakota and received his undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University and his PhD in Agricultural Economics from Washington State University. Prior to joining Purdue University he held faculty and various administrative roles at the University of Nebraska and the University of Wyoming, and was also a Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin. He began his academic career as a faculty member at Penn State University. Cordes is listed in Who's Who in the Midwest and was the 1996 recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award from the National Rural Health Association; and in 1999, he received the Founders Award from the Rural Policy Research Institute. In 2000, he was selected by the Graduate School of Washington State University as the first recipient of its Graduate Alumni Achievement Award; and in 2002, he received the Distinguished Alumni award from South Dakota State University.