Richard Owen, President
Owen became the first president of Purdue at a time when there
were no buildings, faculty, or students. He guided the Morrill
Act idea of an “Indiana Agricultural College”
into reality. He resigned the day before the first class met.
Abraham C. Shortridge, President
Shortridge was in charge when Purdue matriculated its first
students in September 1874. Thirty-nine applicants were admitted,
some conditionally. Women were enrolled for the first time
the following fall. Shortridge’s administration lasted
just 18 months due to his failing health.
John Hougham, Acting President
Professor Hougham was Purdue’s first faculty member
and served as a campus “handyman” for the trustees
who appointed him acting president between the administrations
of presidents Shortridge and White. He resigned not long after
White was appointed.
Emerson E. White, President
Under White’s leadership, Purdue was set firmly on its
course of emphasis on agricultural and “mechanical arts”
as mandated by the Morrill Act. White also is remembered for
his failed attempt to ban fraternities on campus, which led
to his resignation in 1883.
James H. Smart, President
Smart was known as “the engineers’ President.”
The schools of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering
as well as the school of pharmacy and pharmacal sciences were
established during his tenure. During Smart’s administration,
“old gold and black” were established as the school
Winthrop E. Stone, President
Purdue’s first vice president, Stone became president
upon the death of James Smart. He appointed Purdue’s
first dean of women, Carolyn E. Shoemaker, in 1913. The schools
of agriculture and engineering grew rapidly during Stone’s
tenure, which ended tragically when he was killed in a mountain-climbing
Henry W. Marshall, Acting President
Publisher of the Lafayette Journal and Courier and
a member of the Board of Trustees, Marshall was elected acting
president of the University following President Stone’s
Edward C. Elliott, President
Elliott was responsible for a major building program that
saw construction of Ross-Ade Stadium, the Memorial Union,
and development of the Purdue University Airport. During his
tenure, the Graduate School, the School of Aeronautics and
Astronautics, and the Purdue Research Foundation were established.
Elliott recruited top names to Purdue, including Amelia Earhart
as a woman’s counselor.
Andrey A. Potter, Acting President
Purdue's dean of engineering from 1921 to 1953, Potter was
considered the “dean of deans” of American engineering
Frederick L. Hovde, President
Hovde presided over the University’s greatest period
of growth, leading to its emergence as a top research university.
During his tenure, Purdue saw its greatest enrollment growth,
from 5,628 to 25,582 students, its annual budget increased
from $12.7 million to $136 million, and the schools of industrial
engineering, materials engineering, technology, and veterinary
medicine were established.
Arthur G. Hansen, President
The first Purdue president who was also an alumnus, Hansen’s
administration saw enrollment increase to more than 32,000
and new buildings were constructed for agriculture, psychology,
life sciences, and athletics. He supported the establishment
of Purdue’s first Black Cultural Center.
John W. Hicks, Acting President
A professor of agricultural economics, Hicks served as Hovde’s
executive assistant and the University’s lobbyist in
the Indiana General Assembly after 1955. He also served as
executive assistant to presidents Hansen and Beering and retired
in 1987 as senior vice president.
Steven C. Beering, President
Beering’s tenure was marked by sustained growth in academics,
facilities, and private support. Enrollment and scholarship
set records. More than 20 new buildings were constructed on
the West Lafayette campus and 13 others were expanded or renovated.
He fostered efforts to make Purdue an international university.
His name appears on the diplomas of more than half of the
University’s living alumni.
Martin C. Jischke, President
Under Jischke’s leadership, Purdue University completed
a strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees
in 2001. This plan calls for data-driven decision-making with
several data points for comparison with peer institutions.
Discovery Park, a research and entrepreneurial cluster developed
by President Jischke, is being built on the south edge of
campus. The President continues to build alumni and donor
support and create a number of educational partnerships within
the state of Indiana, working cooperatively with state government
to achieve better education for Indiana citizens as one of
his highest priorities.