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
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
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
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
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