Alumni Day looks at Indiana's history


INDIANAPOLIS -- It wasn’t just mastodon bones and John Dillinger’s 1933 escape car that was on display July 20 at the Indiana State Museum. Purdue College of Science pride and fellowship could be seen as well during the 2014 Alumni Day.

Most hailing from central Indiana, alumni gathered with family and friends to check out exhibits like “Ice Age Giants: The Mystery of Mammoths and Mastodons” before sitting down for bowls of ice cream to meet with each other and to meet with Jeff Roberts, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science, and other Purdue Science administration. 

Memories of classes and hours in the lab were conjured during the event.

“I enjoyed organic chemistry -- working in the labs and worked with a professor my senior year doing research for him so I wanted to stay in research,” said Nancy Snyder, a Chemistry alumna who has had a 20-plus year career at Eli Lilly and Company.

The ice cream social also had homemade, kid-friendly lava lamps and tornados in a bottle, as displayed by members of the Purdue Science Student Council. Using household chemicals like cooking oil and food dye, water bottles were transformed into homes for floating, colorful orbs. The physics of water was on display inside two two-liter soda bottles connected at the nozzles. When they bottles were shook and swirled vigorously, mini tornados were created inside.

Alumni Day

Before and after the ice cream social, the alumni checked out exhibits throughout the expansive museum.

“Ice Age Giants” featured numerous fossils of huge mammoths and mastodons discovered in Indiana. The exhibit started with the discovery and excavation of the large fossils before culminating to the complete construction of the giants’ skeletons.

Parked in the lobby of the State Museum, alumni got to see famed Indiana criminal John Dillinger’s 1933 Essex Terraplane escape car in pristine condition. Dillinger was an Indianapolis native who gained notoriety for robbing two-dozen banks during the Depression.

While the alumni that attended Alumni Day graduated from the College of Science during different decades, the fundamentals they took from Purdue helped them succeed in their career fields.  

“Learning how to learn” was John Ferency’s most pivotal lesson he realized as a Mathematics and Computer Science major at Purdue that he took with him as a computer software developer and now in finance for Roche Diagnostics.

“The Math classes were structured well where you had to learn the concepts and procedures to understand how to learn,” Ferency said. “It was more than the X’s and Y’s; it was the process of learning. … We can adapt to any industry, any field we want with that background from the College of Science to take with us.”

Alumni Day

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