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These pages are no longer maintained and will be removed on June 30th, 2009! Please updates any links or bookmarks to the new pages for Purdue Facts online.


Big Ten On January 11, 1895, President James Smart of Purdue called a meeting in Chicago with presidents from seven Midwestern universities to consider regulation and control of intercollegiate athletics. Thus began the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, known eventually as the "Big Ten."

With a vote by the Council of the Big Ten university presidents in June 1990, The Pennsylvania State University became the 11th member of the conference, joining Purdue University, University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, and University of Wisconsin.


Boilermakers On October 26, 1891, the Purdue football team was, for the first time, called "Boiler Makers" by a Crawfordsville reporter who wrote about Purdue's 44-0 trouncing of Wabash College. Soon after, Lafayette newspapers picked up the name, and in October 1892 The Purdue Exponent gave it the stamp of approval. In the early days of Purdue football, the team was called other names as well, including "haymakers," "railsplitters," and "cornfield sailors."


Old gold and black.


The school song. Music by Edward S. Wotawa, BSSC '12; words by James R. Morrison, S 1915.

Morrison wrote the words circa 1912 and sent them to Wotawa, who put them to music. Originally carrying the title "Purdue War Song," "Hail Purdue" was published with a 1913 copyright and dedicated to the Varsity Glee Club. Wotawa had been a member of the Glee Club.

"Hail Purdue"

Hail, hail to old Purdue!
All hail to our old gold and black!
Hail, hail to old Purdue!
Our friendship may she never lack,
Ever grateful ever true,
Thus we raise our song anew,
Of the days we've spent with you,
All hail our own Purdue.

(Verse 1)
To your call once more we rally,
Alma Mater, hear our praise;
Where the Wabash spreads its valley,
Filled with joy our voices raise.
From the skies in swelling echoes
Come the cheers that tell the tale,
Of your vict'ries and your heroes,
Hail Purdue! We sing all hail!

(Verse 2)
When in after years we're turning,
Alma Mater, back to you,
May our hearts with love be yearning,
For the scenes of old Purdue.
Back among your pathways winding
Let us seek what lies before,
Fondest hopes and aims e'er finding,
While we sing of days of yore.


The Purdue Board of Trustees approved the song "Purdue Hymn" as the official alma mater of the University on February 5, 1993.

Words and music were written by Alfred B. Kirchhoff in 1941. Kirchhoff did graduate study at Purdue while serving as a teacher, principal, choirmaster, organist, and youth leader at St. James Lutheran Church and School in Lafayette from 1932–48.

Purdue Musical Organization's University Choir first performed the hymn on March 6, 1943, during a convocation in the Purdue (now Elliott) Hall of Music. Fifty years later, it was adopted by the trustees as the University's official anthem in response to petitions by hundreds of students and alumni.

"Purdue Hymn"

Close by the Wabash in famed Hoosier land
Stands old Purdue, serene and grand.
Cherished in memory by all
Her sons and daughters true,
Fair alma mater,
All hail Purdue! Fairest in all the land,
Our own Purdue!
Fairest in all the land, our own Purdue!



Boilermaker Special The fifth version of the Boilermaker Special, Purdue’s official mascot that resembles a train locomotive, was dedicated September 25, 1993. The Boilermaker Special V replaced the Boilermaker Special III. A smaller version of the mascot, the Boilermaker Special IV or X-tra Special as it is nicknamed, also makes appearances at special events.

Wabash National, a Lafayette semitrailer manufacturer, built the superstructure of the Boilermaker Special V on a Navistar chassis with a diesel engine. Designed to resemble the Victorian-era Boilermaker Special I, which debuted in 1940, the new Special is 9 feet and 2 inches tall at the smokestack, 23 feet and 10 inches long, and more than 8 feet wide. It's empty weight is 10,800 pounds. Steve Visser, associate professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, was the designer.

The retired Boilermaker Special III logged more than 110,000 miles in its 33-year existence.

The Boilermaker X-tra Special VI was dedicated October 19, 1996.

The Reamer Club serves as official caretaker of the Specials, taking responsibility for appearance and maintenance.


Purdue Pete Purdue Pete was created in 1940 when "Red" Samuels and "Doc" Eppell, founders of University Book Store, asked Art Evans to develop an advertising logo for the store. Like magic, this one-dimensional form evolved into a human shape, and in 1956 Purdue Pete started his remarkable life as entertainer and energizer of Boilermaker athletics.

Today, three students share the responsibility of acting as the mallet-wielding Boilermaker. To be chosen, they must be at least six feet tall, weigh no less than 180 pounds, be involved in campus activities, and possess leadership qualities.


University Seal The official seal of Purdue was officially inaugurated during the University's centennial in 1969. The seal, approved by the Board of Trustees, was designed by Prof. Al Gowan, formerly at Purdue. It replaced one that had been in use for 73 years, but was never officially accepted by the board.

In medieval heraldry, a griffin symbolized strength, and Abby P. Lytle used it in her 1895 design for a Purdue seal. When Professor Gowan redesigned the seal, he retained the griffin symbol to continue identification with the older, unofficial seal. As on the older seal, the words "Purdue University'' are set in the typeface Uncial. The three-part shield indicates three stated aims of the University: education, research, and service, replacing the words Science, Technology, and Agriculture on the earlier version.

The seal tends to be reserved for more formal usage than the logo of the Boilermaker Special, Purdue's official mascot. Purdue Marketing and Media is responsible for ensuring the correct use and integrity of the seal and the mascot logo on all University publications, supplies, materials, and equipment, whether produced by the University or an outside agency. Use of the seal, mascot logo, or other University marks for commercial purposes requires permission or licensure from Purdue University. Requests for such commercial use should be directed to the trademark licensing administrator in Purdue Marketing and Media.


The words "Purdue University" took on a new, consistent, and universally recognizable look with a new branding initiative in fall 2002. This marked the first time in Purdue's history that the University adopted a brand identity for its name. Purdue has bold and definite plans for its future, so its graphic identity needs to be strong and positive while at the same time reflecting tradition. The distinctive Purdue University signature logo includes a standardized typeface and colors, and guidelines have been developed for its placement and graphic design use.

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