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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) with 31. Stanford University is third with 18.
- Purdue is ranked 21st in the nation in the latest "U.S. News
& World Report" top 50 public universities survey.
- Purdue theatre major and 1979 graduate 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 the spring
- Record enrollment on the West Lafayette campus of 38,564 in
2002-03 was an all-time high and pushed the systemwide Purdue
enrollment to 68,637, also the highest ever.
- In 1962, Purdue became the first university in the nation to
establish a department of computer science.
- Seventy-five percent of Purdue students in agriculture are from
- Purdue Civil Engineering faculty member Charles Ellis conceived
and drew up specifications for the Golden Gate Bridge, which was
built in San Francisco, Calif., in 1937 as one of the "Seven
Wonders of the Modern World."
- Purdue's WBAA is Indiana's longest continually 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," 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 to become the "Popcorn King."
- The Elliott Hall of Music at Purdue has a seating capacity of
6,025, which is larger than the Radio City Music Hall in New York.
- The Purdue Musical Organizations often serve as international
ambassadors for the University. In May of 2002, the Men's Glee
Club visited China. Founded in 1893, the Glee Club is recognized
as one of the premier all-male choral ensembles in the world.
- New students at West Lafayette in fall of 2002 were the best-prepared
academically in Purdue history, with average SAT scores of 1150,
while 71 percent graduated in the top 30 percent of their high
- Purdue has graduated more women engineers than any other university,
and one in 50 engineers in the U.S. is Purdue-trained.
- More Forbes 800 corporate chief executive officers hold Purdue
undergraduate degrees than any other public university.
- Noted alumni of the past range from author and humorist George
Ade and inventor David Ross to novelist Booth Tarkington and two-time
Super Bowl champion quarterback Bob Griese.
- 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
and was considered one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern
- Purdue enrolls more international students than any other public
research institution in the nation.
- 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 to Purdue
from 1935 to 1937, and the Lockheed Electra aircraft used on her
ill-fated world flight was made possible 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.
- Purdue operates the nation's largest residence hall system among
schools that do not require students to live in university housing.
Nearly 11,000 undergraduate students live on the West Lafayette
- The initiative of Purdue President James Smart in 1895 led to
a meeting of seven Midwest universities to form the Intercollegiate
Conference of Faculty Representatives better known today
as the Big Ten.