A sociology/anthropology major from Carleton with a master’s degree in international development from Cornell University, Christopher Purdy ’88 has made reproductive healthcare accessible for millions of people worldwide. His career began in Turkey, Ethiopia, and Indonesia, where he worked for DKT International, one of the largest providers of contraception and safe abortion products in the world. He returned to the United States in 2011 to eventually take the helm as president of DKT; under his leadership, it has expanded from 17 countries to more than 90, reaching more than 60 million couples each year and annually preventing an estimated 10 million unwanted pregnancies, eight million unsafe abortions, and 28,000 maternal deaths.
Settling in Washington, D.C., with his wife Elzsa, Purdy responded to increasing challenges in the United States for women to access abortion services by co-founding carafem, a non-profit that provides reproductive health care through clinics and telemedicine in 16 states. He also founded Women First Digital, which reaches tens of millions of women globally with information about safe abortion products and services.
Purdy remains closely connected to Carleton: Each year he offers positions with DKT to recent graduates, and his son, Hudson, is a member of the Class of 2027.