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Did you know? - West Lafayette Campus

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  • Purdue is proud of its "cradle of astronauts" reputation, with 22 alumni having been chosen for space travel, including the first and last men on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, and the man who has been on more space walks than anyone else, Jerry Ross. The only other non-military institution that has more alumni who have become astronauts is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

  • The Purdue Research Park has been named the outstanding park in the country by the Association of University Research Parks. This award recognizes a thriving enterprise that now is home to more than 70 technology-based companies and has been a hub of new business development for Central Indiana. In all, the Research Park includes 140 businesses employing nearly 2,900 people in 38 buildings on 591 acres.

  • Established at Purdue in 1995, Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) allows teams of undergraduate students to earn academic credit for multi-year, multi-disciplinary projects that solve engineering and technology-based problems for community service and education organizations. The program has grown to 14 other universities and is expected to reach more than 1,500 students nationwide this year.

  • Purdue is ranked 25st in the nation in the latest U.S. News & World Report top 50 public universities survey. Purdue is recognized with 31 top-10 rankings in various academic programs, and 45 top-20 rankings in the nation by ranking agencies. 

  • Purdue's Online Writing Lab, known as OWL, attracts Web users from around the world. Aimed at improving grammar, punctuation, and writing style, the service has received 93,841,830 hits from more than 125 countries during its first 8 1/2 years of service, surpassing 20 million hits per year each of the last four years.

  • Former Purdue theatre major Kallie Khouri is making a name for herself in Hollywood. Not only did she write the Oscar-winning movie Thelma and Louise, but Khouri also wrote the movie adaptation of the novel Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, which enjoyed a successful release in 2002.

  • There is more construction under way on Purdue's campus this decade than at any previous time in its history. Already, the University's West Lafayette campus includes a total of 383 buildings standing on 17,582 acres (including farmland) and is valued at more than $4.1 billion.

  • In 1962, Purdue became the first university in the nation to establish a department of computer science. That department is now housed in a new facility, the Lawson Computer Science Center, which was dedicated in the fall of 2006.

  • Seventy-five percent of Purdue students in agriculture are from non-farming backgrounds.

  • Purdue alumnus Elwood Mead oversaw the construction of the Hoover Dam, which upon its completion in 1936, was the world's largest concrete structure, containing 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete. Also, Purdue Civil Engineering faculty member Charles Ellis conceived and drew up specifications for the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built in San Francisco in 1937. Both structures were at one time among the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World."

  • No Big Ten university has won more conference basketball championships than Purdue. Combined, Purdue's men's and women's teams have won 27 regular-season conference titles, including a league-leading 21 for the men. Ohio State also has 27 Big Ten trophies, including the conference-best of 10 for the women, while Indiana ranks third with 20 championships, 19 of which were won by men's teams.

  • Purdue's WBAA is Indiana's longest continuously operating radio station. It started broadcasting on April 21, 1922, just 18 months after radio broadcasting was launched in the United States on what is now KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA.

  • 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, and a tuba player named Orville Redenbacher, who went on the become the "Popcorn King." The band was started in 1886 in connection with the Student Army Training Corps.

  • Purdue has provided several significant contributions to the first Century of Flight, including an alumnus named Cliff Turpin, who helped Orville and Wilbur Wright build and test their first flying machine in 1903. Turpin later set a world altitude record of 9,400 feet in 1911 in an airplane made out of wood and canvas - and with no seatbelt.

  • The Purdue Musical Organizations often serve as international ambassadors for the University. In 2002, the Men's Glee Club visited China and, in 2005, it visited Scotland. Founded in 1893, the Glee Club is recognized as one of the premier all-male choral ensembles in the world.

  • Purdue has graduated more women engineers than any other university, and one in 50 engineers in the U.S. is Purdue-trained.

  • The Purdue Airport opened in 1930 as the first university-owned airport in the nation.

  • Noted alumni of the past range from author and humorist George Ade and inventor David Ross to novelist Booth Tarkington, C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, coaching legend John Wooden, and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Bob Griese.

  • Purdue has the second-most international students among public U.S. universities with 4,824 this year.

  • Early work by Purdue researchers led to the first successful transmission of a black-and-white television picture.

  • Amelia Earhart served as a women's career consultant at Purdue from 1935 to 1937, and the Lockheed Electra aircraft used on her ill-fated world flight was financed with gift funds from the Purdue Research Foundation.

  • In 1971, Purdue students Arthur Bond, Edward Barnette, and Fred Cooper founded the National Society of Black Engineers, which has grown to 10,000 members in 268 chapters around the United States and abroad.

Source: University Relations

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