Purdue History

1862

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."

1865

The Indiana General Assembly votes to participate in the plan and takes steps to establish such an institution.

1869

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.

1871

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.

1872

Purdue's first president, Richard Owen, starts his term.

1874

Classes begin with six instructors and 39 students.

1875

John Bradford Harper earns the first Purdue University degree.

1877

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.

1879

The first telephone is installed on campus.

1886

The University Band is established.

1887

Old Gold and Black are adopted as the University’s official colors.

1889

The Purdue yearbook, the Debris, is first issued.

The first issue of the student newspaper, the Exponent, is published.

1890

Purdue's first seal is created by Bruce Rogers, but it is never officially recognized by the University.

1891

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.

1894

The Varsity Glee Club is formed.

1895

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.

1897

The first doctorate of philosophy (PhD) from Purdue is awarded in agriculture.

1912

The Purdue fight song, "Hail Purdue," is written.

The Purdue Alumni Association is formed.

1922

The Purdue radio station, WBAA, is licensed as the first radio station in Indiana.

1924

The Purdue Memorial Union and Ross-Ade Stadium open.

1925

The "Old Oaken Bucket" football trophy is introduced.

1929

The Graduate School is officially established.

1930

The Purdue Research Foundation is incorporated.

1934

The Purdue University Airport is established as the first university-owned airport in the nation.

1940

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.

1944

The Purdue Debris yearbook first uses the image of a barrel-chested, mallet-wielding boilermaker called "Pete."

1959

The Bachelor of Arts degree is first offered.

1967

Boilermakers defeat USC Trojans by a score of 14-13 in Purdue's first Rose Bowl appearance.

1979

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.  

1988

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest goes national.

1989

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.

1990

The Class of 1950 Lecture Hall opens for classes.

1992

The Smoke Stack is demolished in order to be replaced with a bell tower.

1995

The bells from the second Heavilon Hall are used in the construction of the Purdue Bell Tower.

2001

Purdue Discovery Park is founded.

2005

"The Boilermaker" statue, sculpted to celebrate the lore and legend of the Purdue Boilermakers, is dedicated.

2007

The Neil Armstrong statue is unveiled in front of Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

2008

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.

2009

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.

2010

Professor Ei-ichi Negishi wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, which has applications for medicine, agriculture and electronics.

2013

President Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. unveils the University's Purdue Moves initiatives, aimed at helping Purdue deliver higher education at the highest proven value.

2014

Purdue's international student enrollment is tops among U.S. public universities.



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