February 2, 2024

New terminal at Purdue University Airport to be named for Amelia Earhart

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Amelia Earhart’s connection to Purdue University and its renowned aviation history will be recognized with the naming of the to-be-constructed Amelia Earhart Terminal at Purdue University Airport. Purdue trustees approved the naming Friday (Feb. 2).

Earhart was an instructor and advisor in careers for women at Purdue from 1935-37. She met formally and informally with students, seldom speaking about her achievements in aviation but instead focusing on vocational aptitudes, goals and careers for women. At a time when opportunities for women were limited and most studied home economics at Purdue, Earhart said all people — women and men — could be whatever they wanted to be.

Earhart also flew out of Purdue University Airport in the 1930s, when it became the nation’s first university-owned airport.

Purdue University Archives and Special Collections houses the world’s largest compilation of Earhart-related papers, memorabilia and artifacts, which also is available online. The collection includes documents related to Earhart's 1932 solo Atlantic flight, her second and fatal attempt at a world flight in 1937, and items related to her time at Purdue.


Last August, trustees gave approval to plan, finance, construct and award construction contracts for the new terminal. Construction is scheduled to start in June and be completed in August 2025.

The approximately 10,000-square-foot facility — to be located west of the existing terminal — will include a waiting area, baggage claim, restrooms, and ticketing and passenger screening. It will be constructed to comply with Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration requirements. Existing airport hangar T-1 will be demolished, and new short-term parking will be created in its place. Safety improvements will be made to the railroad track pedestrian crossing and parking areas. 

Commercial air service returns to Purdue University Airport 

Purdue and Surf Air Mobility Inc. (NYSE: SRFM) agreed last December to begin scheduled commuter air service between West Lafayette/Purdue University Airport (LAF) and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), with a target start date in early second quarter 2024. This marks the return of commercial air service for the first time since 2004 to LAF, Indiana’s second-busiest airport in terms of total annual aircraft operations.

Commercial air service is part of the Purdue Flies initiative, which will expand Discovery Park District at Purdue, serve the Greater Lafayette community and further accelerate economic growth. “It will also synergize with the teaching, research and innovation of the future of modern air mobility that amplify the heritage of flying at Purdue University,” Purdue President Mung Chiang said.

The Purdue Flies initiative furthers Chiang’s ABCD strategy, in which the A stands for airport and aims to provide the university’s students, faculty, staff and families, as well as residents and businesses in the Greater Lafayette area, with easier, faster connections to the world via O’Hare, America’s fourth-busiest airport. With air service between LAF and O’Hare, travelers will be able to skip the multihour drive, traffic congestion, offsite parking, shuttle train, and long security and luggage lines, and instead fly directly into the terminals and walk gate to gate. 

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

Sources: Mung Chiang

Jay Wasson

Rob Wynkoop

Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

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