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About Purdue University

University Description

Purdue University was founded in 1869 under the Morrill Act of 1862. John Purdue, a local merchant, gave $150,000 to begin the University. Tippecanoe County gave $50,000 and local residents gave 100 acres for the new university. The Indiana State Legislature agreed to name the new school Purdue in gratitude to its largest benefactor. The new university began classes on September 16, 1874 with six instructors and 39 students.

Currently, Purdue University has an enrollment of over 41,000 undergraduate (75%) and graduate students (23%). Approximately 2,000 full-time faculty teach and conduct research in Purdue's 157 principle buildings with 377 total buildings on 2,307 acres. Purdue University's schools include: agriculture; consumer and family science; education; engineering; liberal arts; management; pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences; nursing; science; technology; and veterinary medicine. Purdue offers 6,700 courses in 200 specializations. For more than a quarter century, Purdue University has been the largest or second largest in undergraduate engineering enrollment in the country. Purdue research exceeds $347.1 million a year using more than 400 research labs. The University's decentralized 14 library system contains over 2.3 million volumes of information, including a substantial psychology library that has merged with the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education library located in Stewart Center.

Purdue University is committed to fostering and maintaining an inclusive community that values the inherent worth and value of every person. A few notable policies highlight this commitment and are found below.

Purdue Non-discrimination Policy Statement       Purdue Antiharassment Policy Statement

Student Demographics

  • Purdue has been co-educational since 1876.
  • Of Purdue's total enrollment (50,884), approximately 42% are female.
  • Students from the State of Indiana make up 47% of Purdue's student body.
  • Ninety-six percent of Purdue's students are also undergraduates between the ages of 17-25.
  • Approximately 13% are American students of color.
  • Purdue students travel abroad to more than 30 countries.
  • Purdue has students from every state in the nation and from 130 countries (including: People's Republic of China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Pakistan, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Colombia).
  • International students comprise at least 11% of the Purdue student body.
  • Purdue's culturally diverse student body can be seen through its over 600 student organizations which include: Adult Students' Association of Purdue; Egyptian Student Association; Indonesian Students Association; Amigos Hermanos Hispanos; Asian American Association; Purdue Queer Student Union; Chinese Student Choir; Amnesty International; B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation; Baha'i Club; Episcopal Student Association; Mennonite Student Fellowship; Pan-Orthodox Students; Feminist Union; University Church; Muslim Student Association; Indian Classical Music Association; Russian Club, Association for Women Students; Hui Na Opio O Hawai'i; Friends of Palestine Club; African Students Association; and many others.

Geographic Location

Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, IN which is part of the Greater Lafayette community, consisting of West Lafayette, Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County. The Greater Lafayette area is one of the largest metropolitan areas in northwestern Indiana. Lafayette, the seat of Tippecanoe County (pop. 163,364) was founded in 1825 and has a population of 63,679. West Lafayette has a population of 31,079 residents. The two cities are set apart by the Wabash River and Wabash River Valley. The Greater Lafayette community is 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis and 120 miles southeast of Chicago. Amtrak, busline, and shuttle service to and from the Greater Lafayette community allow for easy and convenient travel. The Greater Lafayette community has a civic theatre, chorus, movie theatres, art and history museums, annual street art fairs and musical festivals, restaurants featuring local and international cuisine, a large mall and downtown shopping, more than 1,600 acres of parks, numerous churches and temples, a comprehensive nondiscrimination city ordinance which includes sexual orientation in addition to all federally protected groups, and much much more. For more information about our community, visit the Lafayette-West Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Student Life

Student Life description and mission

Student LIfe is the administrative body in which Purdue University Counseling and Psychological Services administratively resides. Counseling and Psychological Services reports directly to the Dean of Students. Other offices within Student Life are Recreation & Wellness, University Residences, Dean of Students, Student Health (PUSH), Purdue Memorial Union, Student Activities & Organizations, University Bands and Orchestras, Purdue Music Organization (PMO), Hall of Music Productions, Purdue Convocations (Convos), Arts, Culture and Ideas, Leadership & Professional Development Initiative, and Dining & Catering.

Mission of Student Life at Purdue University:

  • Enhance the quality of life for students.
  • Assist students in preparation for life.
  • Encourage students to integrate knowledge and skills they have obtained.
  • Utilize information technology in service to students.
  • Provide quality experiences which will lead to strong alumni loyalty and support.
  • Support the academic mission.
  • Attract and admit a high academic quality and diverse student body.
  • Offer quality and efficient service and support to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Be collaborative in our work.
  • Help students have the very best college experience possible.

Explore the Student Life Vision and Principles