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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).

  • Purdue is ranked 20th in the nation in the latest U.S. News & World Report top 50 public universities survey.

  • Purdue's Online Writing Lab, known as OWL, attracts Web users from around the world. Aimed at improving grammar, punctuation, and writing style, the service received 23,378,595 hits from more than 125 countries last year, an increase from 3.6 million users just three years prior.

  • Purdue theater 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 2002.

  • Record enrollment on the West Lafayette campus of 38,847 in fall of 2003 was an all-time high and pushed the system-wide Purdue enrollment to 69,044, also the highest ever.

  • There is more construction under way on Purdue's campus in 2003 than at any previous time in its history.

  • Former Purdue football All-American Rod Woodson is one of just four players in the history of the National Football League to play in the Super Bowl with three different teams. A total of 15 different Boilermakers have played in 30 Super Bowl Games.

  • 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 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. Also, Purdue Civil Engineering faculty member Charles Ellis conceived and drew up specifications for the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built in San Francisco in 1937. Both structures were at one time among the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World.”

  • Combined, Purdue's men's and women's basketball teams have won more Big Ten Championships than any other school. The Boilermakers have 27 conference banners, including a league-leading 21 for the men. Ohio State is second with 24 Big Ten trophies, including the conference-best of eight for the women, while Indiana ranks third with 20 championships, 19 of which were won by men's teams.

  • Purdue’s WBAA is Indiana’s longest continuously 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” and the “Golden Girl,” 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 the become the “Popcorn King.” The band was started in 1886 in connection with the Student Army Training Corps.

  • Purdue has provided several significant contributions to the first Century of Flight, including an alumnus named Cliff Turpin who helped Orville and Wilbur Wright build and test their first flying machine in 1903. Turpin later set a world altitude record of 9,400 feet in 1911 in an airplane made out of wood and canvas — and with no seatbelt.

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

  • The Purdue Musical Organizations often serve as international ambassadors for the University. In 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 2003 were the best-prepared academically in Purdue history, with average SAT scores of 1150, while 70 percent graduated in the top 30 percent of their high school classes. There were 91 National Merit Scholars and 202 high school valedictorians among them, the most ever in both catagories.

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

  • The Purdue Airport opened in 1930 as the first university owned airport in the nation.

  • 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, C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, coaching legend John Wooden, and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Bob Griese.

  • Purdue enrolls more international students than any other public institution in the nation with 5,094 this year.

  • 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 at Purdue from 1935 to 1937, and the Lockheed Electra aircraft used on her ill-fated world flight was financed 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.

Source: University Relations

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