Veteran and Military Success Center Student Success Programs

Veterans on Purdue's Campus


In 1862, The Morrill Act granted each state public land, stipulating that the proceeds from the sale of this land were to be invested for use in supporting and maintaining at least one college of agriculture and the mechanic arts.” The Indiana General Assembly chose to participate in the Morrill Act in 1865. By 1869, Purdue University was founded.

The Morrill Act required that all male freshman and sophomore students perform military training. By 1889, the “infantry” on campus had over ninety men. “The Infantry” was part of the Purdue Cadet Corps which was in charge of Purdue’s military training for 32 years. In 1886, the Purdue University Marching Band was founded. The band started off as a part of the Purdue Student Army Training Corps and included a drum and bugle corps.



Battery B, a unit of the Indiana National Guard, was established  in 1914. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called Battery B to the Mexican border to help end the Mexican Revolution. 100 of the 150 Battery B undergraduates went on to serve as officers in WWI. To this day, Battery B holds the distinction as the only Purdue unit to be called into action by a United States President.

The National Defense Act led to the creation of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) at Purdue. R.O.T.C. was required of all freshman and sophomore male students. This led to the construction of a new armory which provided space for military training along with a location for annual undergraduate registration for all students. The Armory is still serving as Purdue’s R.O.T.C. headquarters.



During WWI, Purdue University served as an army training center. By the end of the war, Purdue also trained truck masters, mechanics, radio operators, and concrete workers. In 1920, the Purdue Federal School was created to provide educational benefits to disabled servicemen.

The construction of the Purdue Memorial Union was originally proposed in the 1910s, but paused due to WWI. The PMU was built and dedicated to honor Purdue’s fallen servicemen.



The attacks on Pearl Harbor once again turned Purdue into a military training ground. One example of how Purdue trained military leadership was through its Navy V-12 program. After World War II, the 1944 Servicemen Readjustment Act (also known as the G.I. Bill) provided educational benefits to veterans. The class of 1950 had an especially large number of veterans in their student body. The class donated the Class of 1950 lecture hall to the university.

In 1972, Congress passed new Readjustment Assistance Acts which would raise the monthly stipend awarded to student veterans. The acts gave educational benefits to those whose military service occurred in peace time as well as war time.



The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill was implemented in 2009. This benefit is open to any service member that spends time active duty and helps pay tuition and fees, a monthly stipend, and a books and supplies stipend. Under certain circumstances, the benefit can be transferred to spouses or children.

Approximately 520 students participate in Army, Air Force, and Navy ROTC at Purdue University. The majority of them commission as an officer after graduation. Purdue offers minors in Military Science and Leadership, Naval Science, and Aerospace Studies.


Veterans Success Center, PMU 284/286, 101 N. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7638,

©2020 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Brand Toolkit | Maintained by Student Success Programs

Contact Student Success at for accessibility issues with this page. | Accessibility Resources | Contact Us