President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Land Grant Act, which turned public lands over to any state that agreed to use the land sale proceeds to maintain a college teaching agriculture and the "mechanic arts."
The Indiana General Assembly votes to participate in the plan and takes steps to establish such an institution.
The Indiana General Assembly chooses the Lafayette area for the new institution and accepts a $150,000 gift from John Purdue, as well as $50,000 from Tippecanoe County and 100 acres from local residents. The legislature names the new school Purdue University.
Groundbreaking for the first campus buildings.
The first buildings on campus include the Boiler and Gas House, the Military Hall and Gymnasium, the Ladies Hall, Purdue Hall, and the Pharmacy Building. All of these building were completed by 1874, and none of them remain today.
Purdue's first president, Richard Owen, starts his term.
Classes begin with six instructors and 39 students.
John Bradford Harper earns the first Purdue University degree.
University Hall (known as the Main Building) is completed, becoming the central building on the Purdue campus. Today, it remains the oldest building on campus.
The first telephone is installed on campus.
The University Band is established.
Old Gold and Black are adopted as the University’s official colors.
The Purdue yearbook, the Debris, is first issued.
The first issue of the student newspaper, the Exponent, is published.
Purdue's first seal is created by Bruce Rogers, but it is never officially recognized by the University.
Under accusations of recruiting athletes from boiler shops, the "Boilermakers" name is adopted for Purdue's athletic teams. An 85,000-pound Schenectady No. 1 Locomotive engine is purchased.
The Varsity Glee Club is formed.
The Big Ten Conference is established under the leadership of President James Smart.
Abby Phelps Lytle, head of the Purdue art department, designs a new, official seal for the University. Lytle's design incorporates three motifs still seen in the seal today: the shield, the griffin and the Uncial typeface.
The first doctorate of philosophy (PhD) from Purdue is awarded in agriculture.
The Purdue fight song, "Hail Purdue," is written.
The Purdue Alumni Association is formed.
The Purdue radio station, WBAA, is licensed as the first radio station in Indiana.
The Purdue Memorial Union and Ross-Ade Stadium open.
The "Old Oaken Bucket" football trophy is introduced.
The Graduate School is officially established.
The Purdue Research Foundation is incorporated.
The Purdue University Airport is established as the first university-owned airport in the nation.
The Boilermaker Special (the official Purdue mascot in the form of a locomotive mounted on an automobile chassis) is presented to the student body at a convocation ceremony.
The Purdue Debris yearbook first uses the image of a barrel-chested, mallet-wielding boilermaker called "Pete."
The Bachelor of Arts degree is first offered.
Boilermakers defeat USC Trojans by a score of 14-13 in Purdue's first Rose Bowl appearance.
Purdue chemistry professor Herbert C. Brown is awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work with boron compounds that has revolutionized synthetic organic chemistry.
The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest goes national.
The Class of '39 Water Sculpture, standing at the center of Purdue Mall, is dedicated. It is also known as the Purdue Mall Fountain, or less accurately as the Engineering Fountain.
The Class of 1950 Lecture Hall opens for classes.
The Smoke Stack is demolished in order to be replaced with a bell tower.
The bells from the second Heavilon Hall are used in the construction of the Purdue Bell Tower.
Purdue Discovery Park is founded.
"The Boilermaker" statue, sculpted to celebrate the lore and legend of the Purdue Boilermakers, is dedicated.
The Neil Armstrong statue is unveiled in front of Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.
The "Unfinished Block P" sculpture, which symbolizes that all students, alumni, community members, and friends of Purdue University are a work in progress, is dedicated.
The life-size Amelia Earhart statue, meant to inspire students to pursue their dreams while connecting the campus to its early history in flight, is unveiled.
Professor Ei-ichi Negishi wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, which has applications for medicine, agriculture and electronics.
President Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. unveils the University's Purdue Moves initiatives, aimed at helping Purdue deliver higher education at the highest proven value.
Purdue's international student enrollment is tops among U.S. public universities.