Purdue University

"Purdue" redirects here. For other members of this university system, see Purdue University system. For all other uses, see Purdue (disambiguation).
Purdue University
Type Public
Established May 6, 1869
Endowment $2.398 billion (2015)[1]
President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.
Provost Debasish Dutta
Academic staff
3,055 (Fall 2014)[2]
Students 39,409 (Fall 2015)[3]
Undergraduates 29,497 (Fall 2015)[3]
Postgraduates 9,912 (Fall 2015)[3]
Location West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.
Campus Large town: 2,602 acres (10.53 km2)
plus 15,325 acres (62.02 km2) for agricultural and industrial research[2]
Colors Black and Old Gold[4]
Athletics NCAA Division IBig Ten
Sports 18 varsity teams
Nickname Boilermakers
Mascot Boilermaker Special
Purdue Pete
Affiliations Purdue University system
Website www.purdue.edu

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States, is a public research university and is the main campus of the Purdue University system.[5] It was founded in 1869 after a donation of land and money from Lafayette businessman John Purdue to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name.[6] The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.[6]

The main campus in West Lafayette offers more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 70 master’s and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. In addition, Purdue has 18 intercollegiate sports teams and more than 900 student organizations. Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and enrolls the second largest student body of any university in Indiana, as well as the fourth largest international student population of any university in the United States.[7]


John Purdue, the University's eponymous benefactor

In 1865, the Indiana General Assembly voted to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862, and began plans to establish an institution with a focus on agriculture and engineering. Communities throughout the state offered their facilities and money to bid for the location of the new college. Popular proposals included the addition of an agriculture department at Indiana State University or at what is now Butler University. By 1869, Tippecanoe County’s offer included $150,000 (equivalent to $2.7 million in 2015) from Lafayette business leader and philanthropist John Purdue, $50,000 from the county, and 100 acres (0.4 km2) of land from local residents. On May 6, 1869, the General Assembly established the institution in Tippecanoe County as Purdue University, in the name of the principal benefactor. Classes began at Purdue on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.[6] Professor John S. Hougham was Purdue’s first faculty member and served as acting president between the administrations of presidents Shortridge and White.[6][8] A campus of five buildings was completed by the end of 1874.[9] Purdue issued its first degree, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, in 1875 and admitted its first female students that fall.[10][11]

Emerson E. White, the university’s president from 1876 to 1883, followed a strict interpretation of the Morrill Act. Rather than emulate the classical universities, White believed that Purdue should be an "industrial college" and devote its resources toward providing a liberal (or broad) education with an emphasis on science, technology, and agriculture. He intended not only to prepare students for industrial work, but also to prepare them to be good citizens and family members.[12] Part of White’s plan to distinguish Purdue from classical universities included a controversial attempt to ban fraternities. This ban was ultimately overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court and led to White’s resignation.[13] The next president, James H. Smart, is remembered for his call in 1894 to rebuild the original Heavilon Hall "one brick higher" after it had been destroyed by a fire.[14]

Purdue University, 1904

By the end of the nineteenth century, the university was organized into schools of agriculture, engineering (mechanical, civil, and electrical), and pharmacy, and former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison was serving on the board of trustees.[15] Purdue’s engineering laboratories included testing facilities for a locomotive and a Corliss steam engine, one of the most efficient engines of the time. The School of Agriculture was sharing its research with farmers throughout the state with its cooperative extension services and would undergo a period of growth over the following two decades. Programs in education and home economics were soon established, as well as a short-lived school of medicine. By 1925 Purdue had the largest undergraduate engineering enrollment in the country, a status it would keep for half a century.[16]

President Edward C. Elliott oversaw a campus building program between the world wars. Inventor, alumnus, and trustee David E. Ross coordinated several fundraisers, donated lands to the university, and was instrumental in establishing the Purdue Research Foundation. Ross’s gifts and fundraisers supported such projects as Ross–Ade Stadium, the Memorial Union, a civil engineering surveying camp, and Purdue University Airport. Purdue Airport was the country’s first university-owned airport and the site of the country’s first college-credit flight training courses.[17] Amelia Earhart joined the Purdue faculty in 1935 as a consultant for these flight courses and as a counselor on women’s careers. In 1937, the Purdue Research Foundation provided the funds for the Lockheed Electra 10-E that Earhart flew on her attempted round-the-world flight.

University Hall.

Every school and department at the university was involved in some type of military research or training during World War II.[18] During a project on radar receivers, Purdue physicists discovered properties of germanium that led to the making of the first transistor.[19][20] The Army and the Navy conducted training programs at Purdue and more than 17,500 students, staff, and alumni served in the armed forces.[21] Purdue set up about a hundred centers throughout Indiana to train skilled workers for defense industries.[22] As veterans returned to the university under the G.I. Bill, first-year classes were taught at some of these sites to alleviate the demand for campus space. Four of these sites are now degree-granting regional campuses of the Purdue University system. Purdue’s on-campus housing became racially desegregated in 1947, following pressure from Purdue President Frederick L. Hovde and Indiana Governor Ralph F. Gates.[23][24]

After the war, Hovde worked to expand the academic opportunities at the university. A decade-long construction program emphasized science and research. In the late 1950s and early 1960s the university established programs in veterinary medicine, industrial management, and nursing, as well as the first computer science department in the United States.[25] Undergraduate humanities courses were strengthened, although Hovde only reluctantly approved of graduate-level study in these areas. Purdue awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1960.[26] The programs in liberal arts and education, formerly administered by the School of Science, were soon split into their own school.

The official seal of Purdue was officially inaugurated during the university's centennial in 1969. Consisting of elements from emblems that had been used unofficially for 73 years, the current seal depicts a griffin, symbolizing strength, and a three-part shield, representing education, research, and service.

In recent years, Purdue’s leaders have continued to support high-tech research and international programs. In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited the West Lafayette campus to give a speech about the influence of technological progress on job creation.[27] In the 1990s, the university added more opportunities to study abroad and expanded its course offerings in world languages and cultures.[28] The first buildings of the Discovery Park interdisciplinary research center were dedicated in 2004.[29] Purdue launched a Global Policy Research Institute in 2010 to explore the potential impact of technical knowledge on public policy decisions.[30]


Purdue's campus is situated in the small city of West Lafayette, near the western bank of the Wabash River, across which sits the larger city of Lafayette. State Street, which is concurrent with State Road 26, divides the northern and southern portions of campus. Academic buildings are mostly concentrated on the eastern and southern parts of campus, with residence halls and intramural fields to the west, and athletic facilities to the north. The Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation (CityBus) operates eight campus loop bus routes on which students, faculty, and staff can ride free of charge with Purdue Identification.

Purdue Mall

The Purdue Mall is the central quad of Purdue University. Also known as the Purdue Spine, due to its proximity to several important academic buildings, it was created to connect the academic campus with Ross-Ade Stadium. It is known as the Engineering Mall, due to its proximity to several engineering buildings. The most prominent feature of the Purdue Mall is the 38-foot (12 m)-tall concrete Engineering Fountain, and also features the Frederick L. Hovde Hall of Administration, which houses the office of the university president, Mitchell E. Daniels. The Purdue Bell Tower is located between the Stadium and Centennial Malls. The Bell Tower is considered an icon of the university and can be found on many Purdue logos and those of the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette.

Southwest of the Stadium Mall is the Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music, one of the largest proscenium theaters in the world.[31] Purdue's Student Concert Committee often invites famous entertainers to perform there for an audience of students, faculty, and the general public.

Memorial Mall

Purdue Memorial Union
Union Club.

The Purdue Memorial Mall, located south of the Purdue Mall, is the original section of campus. A popular meeting place for students, the grassy, open Memorial Mall is surrounded by the Stewart Center, Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry, Stanley Coulter Hall, the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall, the Recitation Building, University Hall, and Stone Hall. The Memorial Mall also features the Hello Walk. Near this section of campus is Felix Haas Hall, which was constructed in 1909 as Memorial Gymnasium in memory of the 17 Purdue University football players, coaches, alumni, and fans who perished in the Purdue Wreck railroad accident on October 31, 1903. The structure was renovated in 1985 to house the Computer Science department. In 2006, it was renamed in honor of retired Provost Felix Haas and began to also house the Statistics department. East of the Memorial Mall is the Purdue Memorial Union, Purdue's student union building, and the adjacent Union Club Hotel.

University Hall is the only building remaining from the original six-building campus. Construction began in 1871, when the building was known as "The Main Building". The building was dedicated in 1877 and the project cost $35,000 to complete. University Hall originally housed the office of the president, a chapel, and classrooms, but was remodeled in 1961 to house only the department of history and classrooms used by the School of Liberal Arts. At the request of John Purdue, he was buried in the Memorial Mall, directly across from the main entrance of University Hall.[32]

South Campus

Horticulture Gardens

The area south of State Street is home to Purdue's agricultural, fine arts, life sciences, and veterinary buildings. This area also includes the Krannert School of Management, Horticulture Gardens, Discovery Park, Lyles Porter Hall and the Purdue Airport. The Krannert School of management has been nationally and globally ranked for both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Krannert and Rawls Hall provide state of the art learning facilities to the majority of business classes on campus. Rawls Hall was built in 2006 with the help of a $10 million gift from Jerry S. Rawls, the largest in the management school's history. Lyles Porter Hall houses interdisciplinary healthcare facilities and classroom space within the College of Health and Human Sciences as well as the School of Medicine. Collectively, students and clinical faculty within Nursing, Health and Kinesiology, Nutrition Science, Psychological Sciences, and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences see approximately 3,000 patients a year within this state-of-the-art interdisciplinary healthcare facility. The building features a nursing clinic, specialized preschool, exercise center, consultation space and demonstration kitchen for dietitians in training, clinical psychology facility, audiology and speech-language pathology clinics, cadaver laboratory for physicians in training, and research laboratories. Purdue University Airport, which opened in 1930 was the first of its kind, and remains one of only a few university-owned airports in the nation. Including the Niswonger Aviation Technology Building, which was dedicated in 2009, the facility symbolizes Purdue's storied relationship with aviation.

West Campus

The western portion of campus consists of student housing, dining, and recreation facilities. Students can play club and intramural sports at the Córdova Recreational Sports Center, the Boilermaker Aquatic Center, and the intramural playing fields in this area. The Córdova Recreational Sports Center, built in 1957, is the first building in the nation created solely to serve university student recreational needs. As a replacement for the previously separate women's and men's gymnasiums, it was originally called the "Co-recreational Gymnasium".[33] Despite several expansions and official name changes, it has been nicknamed "the Co-rec" ever since.

Stadium Avenue

Much of the northern part of campus sits on land purchased for the university by industrialist David E. Ross and author and humorist George Ade in the 1920s. Many of Purdue's athletic facilities are located there, including Ross–Ade Stadium (American football), Mackey Arena (basketball), and Lambert Fieldhouse (indoor track and field). This area also includes the Slayter Center of Performing Arts and Cary Quadrangle, one of the largest all-male housing units in the country.[34] David Ross is one of two people buried on Purdue's campus (the other being John Purdue). His grave site is in a garden atop the hill just to west of the Slayter band shell. Baseball's Alexander Field and other athletic facilities are located a mile west of the stadium, at the newer Northwest Athletic Complex.


Degree programs

College/school founding
Year founded

College of Agriculture
College of Education
College of Engineering
College of Health and Human Sciences
College of Liberal Arts
Krannert School of Management
College of Pharmacy
Purdue Polytechnic Institute
College of Science
College of Veterinary Medicine

Purdue offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in over 211 major areas of study, and is well known for its competitive engineering curricula. The university has also been highly influential in America's history of aviation, having established the first college credit offered in flight training, the first four-year bachelor's degree in aviation, and the first university airport (Purdue University Airport). Purdue's aviation technology and aeronautical engineering programs remain among the most competitive aviation-specific programs in the world. In the mid-20th century, Purdue's aviation program expanded to encompass advanced spaceflight technology giving rise to Purdue's nickname, Cradle of Astronauts.[35] Twenty-three Purdue graduates have gone on to become astronauts, including Gus Grissom (one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts), Neil Armstrong (the first person to walk on the moon), and Eugene Cernan (the last person to walk on the moon).

In addition to its strong engineering and science programs, the English Department at Purdue has achieved prominence for having created the first Online Writing Lab (OWL) in 1994.[36] Many colleges and universities use the website for the Purdue OWL as a reference for the proper word usage, punctuation, grammar, and style in academic writing.

Purdue is organized into ten colleges and schools. On July 1, 2010 the College of Health and Human Sciences was formed. The new college was created by combining existing academic units. These units include the School of Nursing, the School of Health Sciences, the College of Consumer and Family Sciences, and non-humanities majors from the College of Liberal Arts; namely psychology and hearing and speech pathology.[37]

The university also offers 19 master's degree programs offered exclusively online, including for subjects like aviation management, communication, computer science, construction management, education, economics, and engineering.[38]


The University President, appointed by the Board of Trustees, is the chief administrative officer of the university. The office of the president oversees admission and registration, student conduct and counseling, the administration and scheduling of classes and space, the administration of student athletics and organized extracurricular activities, the libraries, the appointment of the faculty and conditions of their employment, the appointment of all non-faculty employees and the conditions of employment, the general organization of the university, and the planning and administration of the university budget.

The Board of Trustees directly appoints other major officers of the university including a provost, who serves as the chief academic officer for the university, a number of vice presidents with oversight over specific university operations, and the regional campus chancellors.


Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering

The University expended $472.7 million in support of research system-wide in 2006–07, using funds received from the state and federal governments, industry, foundations, and individual donors. The faculty and more than 400 research laboratories put Purdue University among the leading research institutions.[39] Purdue University is considered by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to have "very high research activity".[40] Purdue also was rated the nation's fourth best place to work in academia, according to rankings released in November 2007 by The Scientist magazine.[41] Purdue's researchers provide insight, knowledge, assistance, and solutions in many crucial areas. These include, but are not limited to Agriculture; Business and Economy; Education; Engineering; Environment; Healthcare; Individuals, Society, Culture; Manufacturing; Science; Technology; Veterinary Medicine.[42] Purdue University generated a record $438 million in sponsored research funding during the 2009–10 fiscal year with participation from National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services.[43]

Purdue University established the Discovery Park to bring innovation through multidisciplinary action.[44] In all of the eleven centers of Discovery Park, ranging from entrepreneurship to energy and advanced manufacturing, research projects reflect a large economic impact and address global challenges.[45] Purdue University's nanotechnology research program, built around the new Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park, ranks among the best in the nation.[46]

The Purdue Research Park which opened in 1961[47] was developed by Purdue Research Foundation which is a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue. The park is focused on companies operating in the arenas of life sciences, homeland security, engineering, advanced manufacturing and information technology.[48] It provides an interactive environment for experienced Purdue researchers and for private business and high-tech industry.[47] It currently employs more than 3,000 people in 155 companies, including 90 technology-based firms.[49] The Purdue Research Park was ranked first by the Association of University Research Parks in 2004.[50]

Purdue's library system consists of fifteen locations throughout the campus, including an archives and special collections research center, an undergraduate library, and several subject-specific libraries. More than three million volumes, including one million electronic books, are held at these locations.[51] An administrative unit of Purdue University Libraries, Purdue University Press has its roots in the 1960 founding of Purdue University Studies by President Frederick Hovde on a $12,000 grant from the Purdue Research Foundation. This was the result of a committee appointed by President Hovde after the Department of English lamented the lack of publishing venues in the humanities. Since the 1990s, the range of books published by the Press has grown to reflect the work from other colleges at Purdue University especially in the areas of agriculture, health, and engineering. Purdue University Press publishes print and ebook monograph series in a range of subject areas from literary and cultural studies to the study of the human-animal bond. In 1993 Purdue University Press was admitted to membership of the Association of American University Presses. Purdue University Press publishes around 25 books a year and 20 learned journals in print, in print & online, and online only formats in collaboration with Purdue University Libraries.

Big Ten Academic Alliance

Purdue University is a participant in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) is the academic consortium of the universities in the Big Ten Conference. Engaging in $10 billion in research in 2014-2015, BTAA universities provide powerful insight into important issues in medicine, technology, agriculture, and communities. Students at participating schools are also allowed "in-house" borrowing privileges at other schools' libraries.[52] The BTAA uses collective purchasing and licensing, and has saved member institutions $19 million to date.[53] Course sharing,[54] professional development programs,[55] study abroad and international collaborations,[56] and other initiatives are also part of the BTAA.


Purdue's Sustainability Council, composed of University administrators and professors, meets monthly to discuss environmental issues and sustainability initiatives at Purdue.[57] The University's first LEED Certified building was an addition to the Mechanical Engineering Building, which was completed in Fall 2011.[58] The school is also in the process of developing an arboretum on campus.[59] In addition, a system has been set up to display live data detailing current energy production at the campus utility plant.[59] The school holds an annual "Green Week" each fall, an effort to engage the Purdue community with issues relating to environmental sustainability.[60]


University rankings
ARWU[61] 35
Forbes[62] 127
U.S. News & World Report[63] 60
Washington Monthly[64] 45
ARWU[65] 63
QS[66] 92
Times[67] 113
U.S. News & World Report[68] 90

In its 2017 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue University as tied for the 20th-best public university in the United States, tied for 60th overall, and 90th best globally.[69] U.S. News & World Report rated Purdue 13th for undergraduate teaching and tied at 9th for the most innovative schools. [69] Purdue was also ranked 9th for its undergraduate engineering program and ranked 23rd for its undergraduate business program. [69]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2016 ranked Purdue as the 63rd best university in the world. In addition, ARWU ranked Purdue's engineering program 18th internationally, and ranked the specific subjects of English 18th, chemistry 20th, and computer science 21st internationally.[70]

Student life

Student body

Graduation Ceremony
Demographics of Student Body [71][72]
Undergraduate Graduate Professional U.S. Census
African American 4% 5% 4% 12.6%
Asian 6% 6% 11% 4.8%
Hispanic or Latino 4% 5% 3% 16.4%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.2% 0.3% 0.5% 0.9%
International students 16% 44% 3% N/A

Bringing together the resources of cultural centers and diversity programs across campus, Purdue University’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion provides leadership in the building of a more diverse and inclusive campus community. 8,562 students from 126 different countries around the world came to Purdue University last year.[73] In 2012–13, 19,689 out of a total of 39,256 students enrolled were Indiana residents.[73] As of 2013, the racial diversity of the US-resident undergraduate student body was 5.7% Asian, 4.4% Hispanic or Latino, and 4.0% black or African American.[74] Of the undergraduate students, 42.6% were female.[75] Domestic minorities constitute a total of 10.8% in the graduate student body population[74] of which 37.3% are female.[75] Twenty-two percent of the student body is international, representing 126 countries.[76] In graduate and professional student population, non-Indiana residents occupy an overwhelming majority, about 75%.[77] Almost all undergraduates and about 70% of the graduate student population attend full-time.[78] The school's selectivity for admissions is "more selective" by USNWR: approximately 49% of applicants are admitted.[79]


About one-third of the single undergraduate students on the West Lafayette campus are housed in University Residences. The rest live in fraternities, sororities, cooperatives, or private off-campus housing. There are 11,844 spaces available for undergraduate students, graduate students, and student families who choose to live on campus. Sixteen percent of the undergraduate student body are members of the 40 fraternities and 20 sororities on campus.

Cary Quad and Spitzer Court.
Loeb Fountain.
Class of 1939 Water Scultpure.

Purdue University operates fifteen separate residence halls for its undergraduate and graduate students, including Cary Quadrangle, Earhart Hall, First Street Towers, Harrison Hall, Hawkins Hall, Hillenbrand Hall, Hilltop Apartments, McCutcheon Hall, Meredith Hall, Owen Hall, Purdue Village, Shreve Hall, Tarkington Hall, Third Street Suites, Wiley Hall, and the 5 Windsor Halls: Duhme, Shealy, Warren, Wood, and Vawter.[80] Of the residence halls, Cary and Tarkington are male-only while Windsor is female-only; the remainder are coed.

There are 12 cooperative houses at Purdue (5 men's houses and 7 women's houses). The men's houses include Circle Pines, Fairway, Marwood, Chauncey, and Gemini. The women's houses include Ann Tweedale, Glenwood, Twin Pines, Maclure, Stewart, Devonshire, and Shoemaker. All cooperative houses are governed under the Purdue Cooperative Council which is led by Purdue University students who live in these houses. The cooperative system allows for a much lower cost of living than other types of housing, averaging $2900 annually with all-inclusive monthly rent ranging from $250-$625 varying by house.[81] The members take an active role in sharing chores and cooking all meals themselves, as opposed to hiring out cleaning and cooking staff.[82]

Purdue University hosts the nation's third largest Greek community, with approximately 5,000 students participating in one of the 46 men's fraternities or 29 women's sororities.[83] Several of Purdue's most distinguished graduates are members of fraternities and sororities.[82] Purdue's Greek system is very strong and works together in various aspects, including the Inter-Fraternity Council, Panhellenic, and many very successful philanthropies. Every chapter has their own national philanthropy dedicated to a certain cause that many chapters also participate in. Besides philanthropy, Purdue Greeks are involved all over campus, including College Mentors for Kids, Purdue University Dance Marathon, Boiler Gold Rush, Purdue Student Government, and other activities.

Activities and events

Students at Purdue participate in more than 900 student organizations that cover a variety of interests.[84] Some of the notable clubs founded by Purdue students include the Purdue Reamer Club (a school spirit organization that cares for the Boilermaker Special mascot and raises funds for scholarships) and two clubs that eventually became nationwide organizations: the National Society of Black Engineers and the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Several campus-wide programs are planned by the Purdue Alumni Student Experience (part of the Alumni Association), Purdue Student Union Board, Purdue Student Government (PSG), or the Purdue Graduate Student Government (PGSG). PSG and PGSC are made up of representatives from each of the university's academic colleges and give recommendations to the faculty, administration, and sometimes to the state legislature.[85]

Annual campus events include Boiler Gold Rush, Spring Fest, and Grand Prix. Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) is Purdue's new-student orientation program. BGR, which takes place before each fall semester, was formed to ease the transition to college for incoming students and to help them get acquainted with successful college life. Boiler Gold Rush activities include speaker presentations from various academic, cultural, safety and professional organizations on campus, campus tours led by Team Leaders, academic 'meet the schools' picnic and interest sessions, late night events at the Purdue Memorial Union, Recreational Sports Center and local stores, and a sports pep rally. Spring Fest is an annual carnival with entertaining exhibits from many academic departments. A highlight of the weekend is the Entomology Department's Bug Bowl, where the sport of cricket spitting was invented in 1997.[86][87] The Purdue Grand Prix, a 50-mile, 160-lap go-kart race is "The Greatest Spectacle in College Racing" and wraps up Gala Week each year. All 33 participating karts are made from scratch by student teams. The event has been raising money for student scholarships since it began in 1958.[88]


The Purdue Exponent, an independent student newspaper, has the largest circulation of any Indiana college newspaper, with a daily circulation of 17,500 copies during the spring and fall semesters.[89] From 1889 to 2008 Purdue published a yearbook called the Debris.[90]

WBAA is a radio station owned by Purdue University. The station operates on the AM frequency of 920 kHz and FM frequency of 101.3 MHz. Its studios are in the Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music on the Purdue campus, and the transmitters are located in Lafayette, Indiana. WBAA is the longest continuously-operating radio station in Indiana, having been licensed on April 4, 1922. WBAA airs NPR and local news/talk programming during the day. Overnight, the AM station airs jazz while the FM station airs classical music.

There are also a few campus radio stations on campus. Currently, three radio stations operate from residence halls, broadcasting via internet only; WCCR from Cary Quadrangle (not to be confused with the current WCCR FM or WCCR-LP stations in other states), WILY from Wiley Hall, and WHHR from Harrison Hall.[91][92][93][94]

W9YB is the callsign of the Amateur Radio Club at Purdue University. W9YB is the longest standing club on campus and also holds the self declared title of having one of the largest and most active collegiate amateur radio stations in the country. W9YB actively participates in emergency management for the Tippecanoe County area and maintains ready status with its members in skills to assist. W9YB is among the longest standing amateur radio clubs in the United States, with the current callsign dating back to 1932 and the previous callsign 9YB dating back to 1920.[95]


Main article: Purdue Boilermakers

On October 26, 1891, a newspaper in Crawfordsville, Indiana, called Purdue's football team the "Boiler Makers" when writing about their trouncing of Wabash College. Lafayette newspapers soon picked up the name, and in October 1892, The Purdue Exponent, Purdue's student newspaper, gave it the stamp of approval. In the early days of Purdue football, the team was called other names as well, including "haymakers," "railsplitters," "sluggers," and "cornfield sailors." This heritage is reflected in Purdue's current mascots: the Boilermaker Special (a truck-like vehicle that resembles a locomotive) and Purdue Pete (a muscular hammer-wielding boilermaker). The school colors of old gold and black were selected by Purdue's first football team in 1887 to resemble the orange and black of Princeton's then-successful team.[96] The best known fight song is "Hail Purdue!".

Purdue has one of the few college athletic programs that is not funded by student fees or subsidized by the university.[97][98] It is home to 18 Division I/I-A NCAA teams including football, basketball, cross country, tennis, wrestling, golf, volleyball, and others. Purdue is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, and played a central role in its creation. Traditional rivals include Big Ten colleagues the Indiana Hoosiers (see Indiana–Purdue rivalry), the Illinois Fighting Illini, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from the Atlantic Coast Conference (football program independent, however).

Purdue’s baseball facility was named in honor of two alumni, Anna Margaret Ross Alexander and her husband, John Arthur Alexander, when the new stadium was dedicated in 2013.[99]


The Boilermaker football team represents Purdue University in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Darrell Hazell is Purdue's current head coach, the 35th in the program's history. Purdue plays its home games at Ross-Ade Stadium on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Boilermakers compete in the Big Ten Conference as a member of the West Division. With a 592–515–48 record, Purdue has the 49th most victories among NCAA FBS programs. Purdue was originally classified as a Major College school in the 1937 season until 1972. Purdue received Division I classification in 1973, becoming a Division I-A program from 1978 to 2006 and an FBS program from 2006 to the present. The Boilermakers have registered 64 winning seasons in their history, with 19 of those seasons resulting in eight victories or more, 10 seasons resulting in at least nine wins, and just one season with ten victories or more. Of those successful campaigns, Purdue has produced five unbeaten seasons in its history, going 4–0 in 1891, 8–0 in 1892, 8–0 in 1929, 7–0–1 in 1932 and 9–0 in 1943. The Boilermakers have won a total of 12 conference championships in their history, including four Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles and eight Big Ten Conference titles. The program is also notable for being one of only two universities – the other being the University of Alabama – to produce three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.[100][101]

Found on a farm in southern Indiana, the Old Oaken Bucket is one of the oldest football trophies in the nation. The winner of the annual Purdue vs. Indiana University American football game gets to add a bronze "P" or "I" chain link and keep the trophy until the next face-off. Ironically, the first competition in 1925 led to a 0–0 tie, resulting in the first link on the chain being an "IP." Purdue currently leads the trophy series at 57-27-3.

During "Breakfast Club", best described as a cross between a pep rally and a Halloween party, students and even some alumni dress up in costumes, from traditional Halloween garb to creative hand-made costumes, as they bar-hop before Boilermaker home football games. The Breakfast Club plays a significant role during the football season and is informally a part of Purdue tradition. Many Boilermaker fans are dedicated; getting up at 5 am on Saturdays and lining up at the bars on Chauncey Hill and the levee by 6 am. The Breakfast Club tradition also takes place the day of the annual Purdue Grand Prix race in April.


The Purdue Boilermakers basketball team competes in NCAA Division I and is a member of the Big Ten Conference. In 2005, Matt Painter became the head coach in West Lafayette. Painter took over the head coaching job from the winningest coach in school history, Gene Keady, becoming the second former Boilermaker basketball player to take the lead role. Purdue basketball is tied with Indiana University for most Big Ten Championships with 22. The Boilermakers have reached two NCAA Tournament Final Fours and won a non-NCAA recognized National Championship for the 1932 season, awarded several years later by the Helms Athletic Foundation. It has sent more than 30 players to the NBA including two overall No. 1 picks in the NBA draft. Purdue shares a traditional rivalry with in-state foe Indiana University, and holds a 112-88 series lead, although Indiana leads the series by a significant margin since the 1939 NCAA tournament era. The Boilermaker men's and women's basketball teams have won more Big Ten Championships than any other conference school, with 27 conference banners. Purdue men's basketball has an all-time winning record against all Big Ten schools except Ohio State.[102]

Notable people


The original faculty of six in 1874 has grown to 2,563 tenured and tenure-track faculty in the Purdue Statewide System by Fall 2007 totals. The number of faculty and staff members system-wide is 18,872.[103] The current faculty includes scholars such as Arden L. Bement Jr. – Director of the National Science Foundation, R. Graham Cooks, Joseph Francisco, Douglas Comer, Louis de Branges de Bourcia who proved the Bieberbach conjecture, Ei-ichi Negishi, Victor Raskin, Michael Rossmann who mapped human common cold virus, Leah Jamieson, James L. Mohler, who has written several manuals of computer graphics, and H. Jay Melosh, an American geophysicist, renowned as an expert on impact cratering.[104]

Purdue's tenured faculty comprises sixty Academic Deans, Associate Deans, and Assistant Deans; 63 Academic Department Heads; 753 Professors; 547 Associate Professors; and 447 Assistant Professors. Purdue employs 892 non-tenure-track faculty, Lecturers, and Postdoctorals at its West Lafayette campus. Purdue employs another 691 tenured and 1,021 Non-Tenure Track Faculty, Lecturers, and Postdoctorals at its Regional Campuses and Statewide Technology.[103]

Two faculty members (chemists Herbert C. Brown and Ei-ichi Negishi) have been awarded Nobel Prizes while at Purdue. In all, 13 Nobel Prizes in five fields have been associated with Purdue including students, researchers, and current and previous faculty.[105] Other notable faculty of the past have included Golden Gate Bridge designer Charles Alton Ellis, efficiency expert Lillian Gilbreth, food safety advocate Harvey Wiley, aviator Amelia Earhart, radio pioneer Reginald Fessenden, and Yeram S. Touloukian, founder of the Thermophysical Properties Research Center.


Purdue alumni have achieved recognition in a range of areas, particularly in the science, engineering, and aviation industries. The university's alumni pool collectively holds over 15,000 United States patents.[106]

Purdue has produced 23 astronauts, including Gus Grissom, America's second man in space and first to fly in NASA's Gemini program, Neil Armstrong, the first to walk on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the last astronaut to do so.[107] Over one third of all of NASA's manned space missions have had at least one Purdue graduate as a crew member.[108]

In science, Purdue has also produced Nobel Prize–winning physicists in Edward Mills Purcell and Ben Roy Mottelson; as well as Nobel Prize–winning chemist Akira Suzuki. Other noted Purdue alumni in science include pioneer of robotics and remote control technology Thomas B. Sheridan, Debian founder Ian Murdock, Founding father and key contributor to the Chinese nuclear weapon programs: Chinese physicist Deng Jiaxian; mathematician Yitang Zhang; chemist Lawrence Rocks; biochemist Edwin T. Mertz, who is credited with discovery of high-protein corn and beans; and Indian chemist CNR Rao, who has been awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India;[109] Prof Reuben J. Olembo, a geneticist and environmentalist who went on to be come the Deputy Executive Director of UNEP and a UN Assistant Secretary- General, was recognised by Purdue in 1994 with a Distinguished Alumni Award for Agriculture.[110]

In business and economics, Purdue alumni include Stephen Bechtel, Jr., owner of Bechtel Corporation; Federal Reserve Bank president Jeffrey Lacker; and popcorn specialist Orville Redenbacher. In 2010, Bloomberg also revealed that Purdue was one of the universities in America with the most undergraduate alumni serving as chief executive officers of Standard & Poor's 500 firms.[111] They are Gregory Wasson, president/CEO of Walgreen Co, Mark Miller, chairman/president/CEO of Stericycle Inc, Charles Davidson, chairman/CEO of Noble Energy Inc, Samuel Allen, chairman /president/CEO of Deere & Co., Donald Thompson, president/COO of McDonald's Corp., and John Martin, chairman/CEO of Gilead Sciences Inc.[112]

In government and culture, Purdue alumni include former Nigerian minister of Agriculture and Rural development, and current President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina, former Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, Pulitzer Prize winners Booth Tarkington and John T. McCutcheon, theater and television director Tom Moore, CEO of Rand Corporation James Thomson, founder and CEO of C-SPAN Brian Lamb, former Governor of Indiana Harry G. Leslie, former Governor of Mississippi Kirk Fordice, former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture Earl L. Butz, former United States Senator Birch Bayh, 2012 Presidential Candidate Herman Cain, Current West Virginia Congressman David McKinley, Chinese nationalist General Sun Liren, Member of parliament (India) to the 16th Lok Sabha from Srikakulam, AP Rammohan Naidu Kinjarapu, Dulquer Salmaan, Malayalam Film actor, Anthony W. Miller, United States Deputy Secretary of Education, and University of Chicago president Hugo F. Sonnenschein.

In sports, Purdue has produced basketball coach John Wooden, basketball Hall of Famers Stretch Murphy, Piggy Lambert and Rick Mount; NBA Champions Paul Hoffman, Herm Gilliam, Frank Kendrick, Jerry Sichting, Glenn Robinson, and Brian Cardinal and NBA All-Stars Glenn Robinson, Brad Miller, Terry Dischinger, and Joe Barry Carroll. Purdue has three NFL Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in Drew Brees, Bob Griese, and Len Dawson; in addition a total of 19 Purdue alumni have been on a Super Bowl-winning team,[113] including ten of the past 12 Super Bowl Champions. Purdue also produced Super Bowl IV winning coach Hank Stram. Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman graduated from Purdue with a bachelor's degree in vehicle structure engineering.[114]

Three Purdue alumni have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States: Neil Armstrong, Brian Lamb, and John Wooden.

The Dauch Alumni Center acts as a showcase for the university's alumni. The 67,000-square-foot (6,200 m2) center houses the offices of the Purdue Alumni Association and University Development. It is a destination and gathering area for the Purdue Alumni Association’s 69,000 members and more than 410,000 living alumni.[115]

Enrollment statistics

Top 5 Indiana counties for enrollment

Rank County County 2015 Enrollment[116]
1 Tippecanoe (Lafayette) 2,674
2 Hamilton (Noblesville) 1,677
3 Marion (Indianapolis) 1,286
4 Lake (Gary) 985
5 Allen (Fort Wayne) 706

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Coordinates: 40°25′26″N 86°55′44″W / 40.424°N 86.929°W / 40.424; -86.929

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