February 7, 2018

Ideas Festival to be centerpiece of Purdue sesquicentennial celebration

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A yearlong festival of ideas will be the centerpiece of Purdue University’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019 as the university looks forward to what the next 150 years will bring for Indiana’s land-grant institution.

President Mitch Daniels announced the initiative Tuesday (Feb. 6) with a letter and a call for proposals to all faculty, staff and students requesting ideas for events that would include high-profile nationally and internationally known speakers, curricular, classroom and community events to address the world’s most pressing issues in a provocative and engaging way.

“As we celebrate this milestone and all our proud history, it’s important that we use this opportunity to look to the future, to the next 150 years that Boilermakers will do so much to shape,” Daniels said.

Purdue was founded as Indiana’s land-grant university in 1869 as a result of the Morrill Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Its history of teaching, research and engagement is one of excellence and success, making Purdue an intellectual hub between the coasts. The university will follow the theme of intellectual excellence in developing events for the yearlong celebration.

The call for proposals is the first step in creating an Ideas Festival on the West Lafayette campus, as well as at Purdue statewide campuses, and in communities around the world. Topics for what would be daylong events could touch on:

  • Immortality: Can we achieve it? Should we?
  • Artificial intelligence: Where is it taking us and is it worth the risks?
  • Pros and cons of social media for individuals, society and democratic institutions.
  • Space: Our next frontier or the source of our demise?
  • Democracy: Wave of the future or historical aberration?
  • China, India, Africa, U.S. ... Whose World in 2120?
  • Our robotic future: Life without work?

A website in development at www.purdue.edu/150 will include information about all events and celebrations planned on campus and around the world.

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