purdue university data digest west lafayette 2001-02
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Fast Facts
Historical Sketch

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A commitment to serving the people was Purdue's founding principle when the University was forged amid the promise of a bold new vision for American public higher education more than 130 years ago.

Purdue traces its roots to the Morrill Act of 1862, which assisted states in promoting the establishment of schools to teach agriculture and the "mechanic arts." Purdue became Indiana's land-grant university by decree of the state legislature in 1869 with the donation of 100 acres of land from Tippecanoe County citizens and funds primarily from Lafayette businessman and civic leader John Purdue. It would be another five years before the young institution opened its doors with 39 students and six instructors.

Today, Purdue is one of the nation's largest universities and a vital Indiana resource, renowned worldwide for the excellence of its teaching and research. Nearly 68,000 students pursue degrees on five campuses and 11 School of Technology Statewide Delivery System sites, taught by 3,600 dedicated faculty. More than 38,000 students study on the West Lafayette campus, choosing from more than 6,100 courses in more than 200 fields of study.

Every year, well over 100,000 people gain new knowledge and enhance their professional skills via nearly 1,000 Purdue workshops and conferences. Thousands more have embraced pace-setting, distance-education efforts to gain insight and solve problems, ranging from the Internet to televised courses by satellite.

Whether mapping the common-cold virus, on the front lines in the battle against AIDS, improving crop yields, or helping businesses sharpen their economic edge, Purdue researchers and specialists confront the problems and promises of today's world as partners with local, state, and federal agencies. Expenditures for research programs now top $244 million annually.

Purdue also is a responsive citizen of Indiana. Academic and research programs and services reach all corners of the state from the West Lafayette and regional campuses. Eight agricultural research centers located throughout Indiana focus on area-specific soil, crop, and climatic issues. Purdue's Cooperative Extension Service is at home in all 92 Hoosier counties, assisting families, youth, and communities to meet their own challenges and reach new goals. The University's partnerships with factories, farms, businesses, and schools have a profound fiscal effect, and the sheer size of the Purdue enterprise makes it an economic dynamo.

Purdue alumni, too, have an impact on the world — and beyond. More than 300,000 living alumni make a difference in myriad fields, and 22 alumni have explored the frontiers of space or soon will, including the first and last men to set foot on the moon.

Where a modest cluster of four buildings once rose out of an Indiana meadow more than a century ago, the West Lafayette campus now encompasses 145 principal buildings on 650 acres. Recreation areas, two golf courses, and the Purdue Airport add more than 900 acres to the West Lafayette total. The campus is a regional cultural and recreational hub, annually attracting hundreds of thousands of people to Ross-Ade Stadium and Mackey Arena for Boilermaker sports, and to Elliott Hall of Music, Loeb Playhouse, and Slayter Center of Performing Arts for a wide spectrum of cultural and entertainment events.

Purdue is a birthplace of ideas, and a place of accomplishments; a place whose people and programs enhance virtually every aspect of contemporary life; a simple idea born of a noble mission, nurtured by knowledge, and steeped in service, while always taking aim at the future.

Source: University Relations

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