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* France Córdova, Fred Ford and Ben Miller speak at dedication of the "Gateway to the Future." (1 minute, 5 seconds)
* Purdue University Homecoming

October 22, 2008

Classes mark 50th anniversaries with arch, scholarships

Gateway to the Future arch
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Alumni from two Purdue classes helped dedicate a new campus landmark and announced a gift for scholarships Saturday (Oct. 25).

The "Gateway to the Future" arch, located near the intersection of Stadium Avenue and University Street, is a gift to the university from the classes of 1958 and 1959. The classes raised $550,000 to create the arch, as well as more than $150,000 for student scholarships, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of each class's graduation from Purdue.

"This archway and these scholarships will provide a lasting legacy of the classes of 1958 and 1959," Purdue President France A. Córdova said. "I would like to thank them for their generosity. These gifts demonstrate Purdue's strong links to its alumni, who are paying their successes forward to future generations."

The scholarship gifts are part of Purdue's $304 million Access and Success campaign to expand student aid and programs. To date, Purdue has raised more than $69 million toward the campaign goal.

The archway base consists of two 27-foot-tall columns constructed of Indiana limestone. The columns are crowned with brass lanterns with glass lenses. Each lantern is nearly five feet tall. The steel arch runs between the two columns. Upper-case letters, painted black, spell out "Purdue University" along the arch. Concrete pavers and landscaping decorate the ground below and around the arch.

Fred Ford, a class of 1958 alumnus, and Ben Miller, a class of 1959 alumnus, co-chaired the Gateway to the Future committee.

Ford retired in 1998 as the executive vice president and treasurer of Purdue. He was named an Outstanding Mechanical Engineer in 1993 and a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1994.  He was awarded the President's Council Distinguished Service award in 1997 and the Order of the Griffin in 1998. In 2004, the Stadium Avenue Dining Hall was dedicated and named in honor of Ford and his wife, Mary, an alumna of the class of 1959.

Miller is the retired president and CEO of Tri-County Telephone. He and his wife, Maxine, co-chaired the President's Council in 1998-99. They served on the Campaign for Purdue Steering Committee and support several student scholarships. The Millers have made a significant donation to the Human Development Institute, naming the Ben and Maxine Miller Child Learning Center.

Ford said the two classes worked on the project for nearly 10 years. 

"We think we had the best of both worlds here as far as class gifts go," Ford said. "There were some alumni who felt strongly that they wanted something physical on the campus with their class year on it. Others were passionate about the fact that they had received financial help when they were at Purdue and wanted to pay it back."

Miller said he is hopeful the arch will become a campus hallmark.

"We think it will be a great meeting point, a place people will recognize and gather," Miller said. "We want our gateway to be a place where students and families will be saying, 'Meet you at the arch.'"

John Collier in the Office of the University Architect, created the concept and design of the arch. Class of 1959 alumnus Jim Wurster donated the architectural and engineering services through his former company, American Consulting, Inc., of Indianapolis. The J.R. Kelley Co, Inc., of Lafayette completed the construction.

The dedication was one of several events celebrating Homecoming week Oct. 20-25.

Writer: Tanya Brown, (765) 494-2079,

Sources: Jesica Webb, (765) 494-2198,

Fred Ford, (765) 463-2037

Ben Miller, (239) 498-9897

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Confetti flies through the air and guests cheer as the Gateway to  the Future arch, a gift from the Class of '58 and '59, is dedicated on  Saturday (Oct. 25) during Homecoming festivities. (Purdue News Service  photo/Andrew Hancock)

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