purdue university data digest 2002-2003
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  • Purdue is proud of its "cradle of astronauts" reputation, with 22 alumni having been chosen for space travel, including the first and last men on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, and the man who has been on more space walks than anyone else, Jerry Ross. The only other non-military institution that has more alumni who have become astronauts is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with 31. Stanford University is third with 18.

  • Purdue is ranked 21st in the nation in the latest "U.S. News & World Report" top 50 public universities survey.

  • Purdue theatre major and 1979 graduate Kallie Khouri is making a name for herself in Hollywood. Not only did she write the Oscar-winning movie "Thelma and Louise," but Khouri also wrote the movie adaptation of the novel "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood," which enjoyed a successful release in the spring of 2002.

  • Record enrollment on the West Lafayette campus of 38,564 in 2002-03 was an all-time high and pushed the systemwide Purdue enrollment to 68,637, also the highest ever.

  • In 1962, Purdue became the first university in the nation to establish a department of computer science.

  • Seventy-five percent of Purdue students in agriculture are from non-farming backgrounds.

  • Purdue Civil Engineering faculty member Charles Ellis conceived and drew up specifications for the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built in San Francisco, Calif., in 1937 as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World."

  • Purdue's WBAA is Indiana's longest continually operating radio station. It started broadcasting on April 21, 1922, just 18 months after radio broadcasting was launched in the United States on what is now KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • Purdue's All-American Marching Band may be best known for having the "World's Largest Drum," but it also claims several famous alumni including a baritone player named Neil Armstrong, who went on to walk on the moon, and a tuba player named Orville Redenbacher, who went on to become the "Popcorn King."

  • The Elliott Hall of Music at Purdue has a seating capacity of 6,025, which is larger than the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

  • The Purdue Musical Organizations often serve as international ambassadors for the University. In May of 2002, the Men's Glee Club visited China. Founded in 1893, the Glee Club is recognized as one of the premier all-male choral ensembles in the world.

  • New students at West Lafayette in fall of 2002 were the best-prepared academically in Purdue history, with average SAT scores of 1150, while 71 percent graduated in the top 30 percent of their high school classes.

  • Purdue has graduated more women engineers than any other university, and one in 50 engineers in the U.S. is Purdue-trained.

  • More Forbes 800 corporate chief executive officers hold Purdue undergraduate degrees than any other public university.

  • Noted alumni of the past range from author and humorist George Ade and inventor David Ross to novelist Booth Tarkington and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Bob Griese.

  • Purdue alumnus Elwood Mead oversaw the construction of the Hoover Dam, which upon its completion in 1936 was the world's largest concrete structure containing 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete and was considered one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World."

  • Purdue enrolls more international students than any other public research institution in the nation.

  • Early work by Purdue researchers led to the first successful transmission of a black-and-white television picture.

  • Amelia Earhart served as a women's career consultant to Purdue from 1935 to 1937, and the Lockheed Electra aircraft used on her ill-fated world flight was made possible with gift funds from the Purdue Research Foundation.

  • In 1971, Purdue students Arthur Bond, Edward Barnette, and Fred Cooper founded the National Society of Black Engineers, which has grown to 10,000 members in 268 chapters around the United States and abroad.

  • Purdue operates the nation's largest residence hall system among schools that do not require students to live in university housing. Nearly 11,000 undergraduate students live on the West Lafayette campus.

  • The initiative of Purdue President James Smart in 1895 led to a meeting of seven Midwest universities to form the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives — better known today as the Big Ten.

Source: University Relations

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