October 25, 2022

Fast Company chooses Purdue University as a ‘Brand That Matters’ for second year in a row

Purdue again the only university on list of brands making positive social change

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — For the second year in a row, Purdue University is the only university selected by Fast Company as one of its “Brands That Matter,” a list honoring companies and organizations for communicating their brand’s mission and ideals with intention and authenticity. One of only 13 two-time honorees, Purdue shares this year’s honor with internationally recognized brands like Nike, Salesforce.org and Fender.

“I didn’t think I could be more excited than last year when Purdue was honored as an inaugural Fast Company ‘Brand That Matters’ with the likes of Nike and McDonald’s,” said Mike Berghoff, chairman of the Purdue Board of Trustees. “But being one of only 13 brands worldwide to be chosen again, and again the only university, recognizes how intentional we have been about brand building based on our amazing product and what we stand for. It is a privilege to be recognized in this way, and I congratulate everyone involved.”

Fast Company says that this year’s Education winners, a category Purdue shares with Coding Dojo and Lego Education, deserve recognition for “keeping learning engaging, accessible and inclusive.” Noting Purdue’s now iconic tuition freeze, which will have saved Purdue families $1 billion by 2023, Fast Company credits Purdue for “keeping higher education attainable for anyone with the will to pursue it."

Purdue has seen record fall enrollments for the last eight years, with 71% of undergraduate degree recipients earning a STEM degree in 2022, up from 44% in 2010. With enrollment growth, Purdue has also seen the growth in the number of degrees earned. In 2012-13, Purdue conferred 9,704 bachelor’s degrees. In 2021-22, that rose to 12,943.

And rising numbers hasn’t meant a drop in quality.

global-grad A Purdue Global graduate celebrates during a commencement ceremony in West Lafayette, Indiana, on October 22. More than 1,200 students graduated as part of Purdue Global’s fall class of 2022. (Purdue University photo/ John Underwood) Download image

By offering innovative STEM programs in tune with advances in microelectronics and national defense, remaining at the cutting-edge of exploratory space missions, as well as endeavors like Purdue Global, Purdue Polytechnic High Schools and the Equity Task Force, Purdue has redefined the traditional role of a university and allowed the greater Purdue campus to become a hub for top talent that drives innovation in industries that affect the world.

Engineering a variety of transformative initiatives that help make a valuable and relevant education accessible to more, Purdue’s programs, perhaps more than in any year before, highlight how a university can invest in its community and people.

“The excellence and ideals that led Fast Company to recognize Purdue University for a second year come to life in Purdue Global,” said Frank Dooley, chancellor of Purdue Global. “Beginning with the expansion of Ethan Braden’s portfolio to lead marketing and communications for Purdue Global in addition to Purdue University, there has been an impactful and passionate new emphasis on telling our story as part of Purdue’s overarching land-grant mission.” 

Braden is executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Purdue University and Purdue Global.

For Purdue, this is what living its land-grant mission looks like in the 21st century: 

  • Preparing underrepresented and marginalized students for college by reinventing the high school experience. Now in their fifth year, with more than 1,000 students across three locations with a fourth to come, the Purdue Polytechnic High Schools prepare high school students underserved by the traditional curricula of public schools for the demands of Purdue and that of a premier college STEM education.
  • Offering working adults an opportunity to complete their college degrees with confidence in their decision and investment. Created by Purdue in 2018, and with more than 35,000 students currently enrolled in more than 175 online programs, Purdue Global exists so working adults can earn a high-quality education online and have the confidence that their degree is one employers will respect.
  • Pursuing improved representation and equity. Continued investment in Equity Task Force initiatives, including a new class of faculty who bring a diversity of research and representation; the dedication of the Winifred and Frieda Parker residence halls; research and action on the minority student college application experience; and the hiring of former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams as executive director of health equity initiatives.
  • Creating partnerships that place Boilermakers in proximity to the most in-demand fields and excellent research, including leading work in microelectronics and national defense. Programs such as The Data Mine directly connect students with corporations like Cummins Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft Corp.; the Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel employs over 400 hospitality students each semester; and Discovery Park District at Purdue is host to dozens of tech partners including Rolls-Royce, Saab, and the most recently announced: SkyWater Technology.

“Purdue has positioned itself as a brand and university that holds itself accountable to the real purpose under which it was created: a land-grant institution for the people of the state of Indiana and the entire country,” said Shawn Taylor, the newest appointee to the Purdue trustees. “Being named a ‘Brand That Matters’ reflects delivering on that promise, for today and tomorrow.” 

In addition to the now iconic tuition freeze, which will have saved Purdue families $1 billion by 2023, Purdue also was named the country’s No. 4 most trusted public university by Morning Consult. It is also recognized as a top 10 public university by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and a top 10 Most Innovative University for five years straight by U.S. News & World Report.

“Our role as the driver and steward of the Purdue University brand is to amplify the character already lived, day in and day out, by our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” says Kati Pratt, executive director of brand and marketing strategy for Purdue. “And that is easy when your team truly believes in this place. By degree or by choice, we are all Boilermakers.”

The November issue of Fast Company magazine, including the complete list of 2022 Brands That Matter, is available online now and will be on newsstands beginning Nov. 2.

Writer/Media contact: Christy McCarter, mccarter@purdue.edu, @ChristyMcCarter

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