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December 27, 2012

Facts, information about Purdue University for the Heart of Dallas Bowl

Neil A. Armstrong. Drew Brees

Eugene C. Cernan. Bob Griese.

The Cradle of Astronauts. The Cradle of Quarterbacks.

Purdue University is more than a research-intensive land-grant institution of more than 39,700 students that was founded in 1869. It is home to icons - the first person to walk on the moon and the most recent to do so - and champions.

Purdue also is known around the world for its academics and research. The university has established itself as a leading global institution and has the second-largest international student population among U.S. public universities and is fourth overall. Its international student enrollment was 8,563 last year. The university also has working partnerships around the world that foster international relations, build economies and move the world forward with research solutions.

Purdue has 12 colleges and schools, including a new Honors College, and ranks among the nation's best in multiple programs.

Below are additional facts and stories about Purdue that may be of interest. Journalists wanting more information can contact the Purdue News Service at 765-494-2076. Teri Lucie Thompson, Purdue's vice president for Marketing & Media, will be on site during the Heart of Dallas Bowl. To speak with her, call 765-414-7242.

Other facts about Purdue and its faculty and alumni:

• Aviation has a long-standing history at Purdue. Alumnus Cliff Turpin helped Orville and Wilbur Wright build and test their first flying machine in 1903. Purdue was the only college or university to have its own airport when it opened in 1930. Renowned aviatrix Amelia Earhart served as a women's career consultant at Purdue from 1935-1937.

• Many Purdue graduates have traveled in darkness while viewing a sunrise every 90 minutes - as NASA astronauts. The university and its alumni, especially its 23 astronauts, have played a pivotal role in the U.S. space program. Alumni Neil A. Armstrong and Eugene C. Cernan were the first and the most recent persons to step foot on the moon.

• In fall 2010, Ei-ichi Negishi became Purdue's newest recipient of a Nobel Prize. Negishi, the Herbert C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, won the Nobel in chemistry for his work in creating a method to build complex organic molecules necessary for numerous purposes, from pharmaceutical manufacturing to electronics.

• In 2007 and 2009, Purdue faculty members won the World Food prize, considered the Nobel Prize of agriculture. Agronomy Professor Gebisa Ejeta's research on sorghum seed genetics has vastly improved the food supply for the people of 12 countries in Africa and resulted in his naming as the 2009 recipient. In 2007 Philip Nelson, the Scholle Chair Professor in Food Processing, won the same award for developing aseptic bulk storage and distribution, a technology to transport processed fruits and vegetables without spoilage.

• Purdue is known as the "Cradle of Quarterbacks." Fifteen former Purdue quarterbacks have played in the National Football League, accumulating more starts and throwing for more touchdown passes than those from any other school. The list includes three Super Bowl champions: Drew Brees, Bob Griese and Len Dawson.

• 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; a tuba player named Orville Redenbacher, known best for his popcorn products; and another tuba player named R. Games Slayter, inventor of fiberglass.

Releases of interest:

Trustees elect Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. as Purdue's 12th president

The Purdue Board of Trustees in June unanimously selected Indiana Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. to be the university's next president.

Daniels will start in January at the conclusion of his second term as governor. He is Purdue's 12th president, succeeding France A. Córdova, who stepped down July 15.

Daniels, Indiana's 49th governor, was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008 with the largest number of votes ever recorded by any candidate for public office in state history. Chief among his accomplishments are turning a state budget deficit into a surplus, launching Indiana into the top ranks of business-friendly states, and reforming and improving the performance of government across the board.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2012/120621KrachPresident.html

SmartMoney ranks Purdue degree among nation's top 10 buys

Purdue ranks eighth nationally in SmartMoney magazine's college "payback" survey, which quantifies the long-term value of a college education. In 2011 Purdue was ranked seventh.

The magazine, which is produced by the Wall Street Journal, noted public universities again dominated the survey, holding the top 17 of the 50 slots.

The median salary for Purdue graduates two years after graduation was $51,800, with out-of-state degree costs of $66,538 (class of 2009). Purdue graduates' median salary 15 years after graduation was $87,200, with out-of-state degree costs of $39,168 (class of 1997), according to the data.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/smartmoney-ranks-purdue-degree-among-nations-top-10-buys.html

'Curiosity' brings Purdue professor, alumni into Mars mission

Three Purdue alumni and a professor were part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which on Aug. 6 landed the Curiosity rover on the planet's surface.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/curiosity-brings-purdue-professor,-alumni-into-mars-mission.html

Purdue ranked among top universities in nation

Purdue maintained its top 25 ranking among the nation's public universities and is 65th among all universities, according to U.S.News & World Report.

Purdue ranked 23rd among public universities, in a tie with Texas A&M University, and was 65th overall, tied with Texas A&M and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Last year, Purdue was ranked 23rd among public universities and 62nd overall.

The magazine also recognized Purdue for several achievements in other areas.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/purdue-ranked-among-top-universities-in-nation.html

Purdue rises to 56th in Shanghai World University rankings

Purdue was ranked 56th in the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanhgai Jiao Tong University. Purdue was 61st last year and 69th in 2010.

In specialty rankings, Purdue ranks 10th in engineering, 19th in chemistry, 20th in computer science and 47th in overall science.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/purdue-rises-to-56th-in-shanghai-world-university-rankings.html

Purdue-designed molecule one step closer to possible Alzheimer's treatment

A new molecule designed to treat Alzheimer's disease has significant promise and is potentially the safest to date, according to Purdue researchers.

Professor Arun Ghosh designed the molecule, which is a highly potent beta-secretase inhibitor with unique features that ensure it goes only to its target and does not affect healthy physiological processes, he said.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q4/purdue-designed-molecule-one-step-closer-to-possible-alzheimers-treatment.html

Purdue to increase engineering faculty by a third

Purdue is embarking on a program to increase its College of Engineering faculty by 30 percent over the next five years.

The additional faculty will allow the college to grow enrollment and expand the breadth and depth of its research efforts.

With the additional faculty, undergraduate enrollment will grow by almost 10 percent to more than 7,750 and graduate enrollment will grow by 750 to 3,500.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q4/purdue-to-increase-engineering-faculty-by-a-third.html

Child to receive prosthetic leg designed by Purdue students

A team of Purdue students has designed a new type of prosthetic leg for a 5-year-old boy who has a rare birth defect.

The leg uses an innovative gearbox design that enables the prosthesis to move like a real leg.

The boy, Lucas Resch, was born with only a fraction of his left femur, making his left leg far shorter than his right, a condition known as proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD).

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q4/child-to-receive-prosthetic-leg-designed-by-purdue-students.html

Purdue gets $5.2 million to develop new biofuel process

If Purdue researchers have their way, the term "biofuel plant" will take on a whole new meaning.

A team received a $5.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop plants that can make substances that could be used directly as a biofuel. The idea is to reroute carbon that plants currently use to make lignin - a barrier to cellulosic ethanol production - and turn it into a biofuel.

Link: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Q3/purdue-gets-5.2-million-to-develop-new-biofuel-process.html