August 20, 2018

Dear Boilermakers,

Welcome to the 2018-19 academic year — and a special welcome to those undergraduates, graduate students, staff and faculty new to Purdue this fall. We are excited to have all of you here for what promises to be an extraordinary year as we launch the celebration of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. 

Students, we know you are looking forward to an engaging and rewarding year of learning and discovery as you grow intellectually and as leaders. Please know that everyone at Purdue is committed to providing an environment where you can realize your highest aspirations.

Appropriately, “Giant Leaps” is the theme of our year-long sesquicentennial. “Giant Leaps” celebrates the past — and future — contributions and accomplishments of Boilermakers everywhere, but it also signifies the personal leaps we hope you will make as students during your time with us.

Repeating a message we shared last year, now is an appropriate time to remind all Boilermakers that ours is a community of respect in which we can all live, learn, work and grow, and each of you is a valued member of that community. 

To be clear, at Purdue, we protect and promote the right to free and open inquiry in all matters and guarantee all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn. But with this right comes responsibility. As Boilermakers, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard that begins with civility and respect for others. 

You may be aware that over the weekend, what was billed as a comedic performance as part of Boiler Gold Rush did not live up to these values. Portions of the performance were contrary to the University’s expectations of behavior that is respectful and supportive of all. That said, we are proud of our students who stood up, voiced their concerns about the performance and demonstrated that we Boilermakers do indeed hold ourselves to a higher standard.

So, as you begin this new academic year, we encourage you to respect the right of others to express ideas you may passionately disagree with and to accept the responsibility to speak out vigorously against those whose words run counter to the values we all hold true as Boilermakers — those of respect, support, acceptance and inclusion.

Best wishes for a successful year ahead.


Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. 

Jay T. Akridge
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity