Purdue University is a large research university in the state of Indiana, boasting top programs in engineering and aviation.
History of Purdue University
The Indiana General Assembly made plans to establish an agricultural and engineering institution in 1865 through the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862. Many proposals were suggested, including the addition of a new department of agriculture at Indiana State University. The county of Tippecanoe offered $150,000 from philanthropist John Purdue as well as 100 acres of land.
On May 6, 1869, Purdue University was established by the General Assembly after the name of the main benefactor. The opening semester began with six professors and 39 students. Professor Hougham was the first professor as well as temporary president. By 1874, the initial campus was finished with five buildings.
The president of the university between 1876 and 1883 was Emerson E. White. He felt that rather than copy a traditional university, Purdue should aim to be an “industrial college” and provide a broad education with an emphasis on technology, science, and agriculture. In his view, this would prepare the next generation of industrial workers as well as good citizens.
The end of the 19th century saw the establishment of three schools within the university: engineering, agriculture, and pharmacy. By 1925 the university boasted the largest undergraduate engineering school in the country.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Purdue University launched programs in industrial management, veterinary medicine, and nursing, in addition to the first computer science program in the country. The School of Science and School of Liberal Arts splits in the 1960s, as humanities classes were strengthened.
The Purdue Campus
The Purdue University campus is located in West Lafayette near the Wabash River. North and south campus are divided by State Street. Academic buildings are primarily situated on the southern and eastern sides of campus, while dormitories and sports fields are on the west and sports facilities on the north.
The central quad of campus is the Purdue Mall, sometimes called the Purdue Spine. It connects the academic buildings with Ross-Ade Stadium. The most recognizable feature of the Mall is the Engineering Fountain, and the Mall also contains the office of the university president. The Bell Tower, an icon of Purdue, is between the Centennial and Stadium malls.
The Memorial Mall is part of the original Purdue campus and is a popular hangout space for students.
Purdue has both an undergraduate and a graduate school with over 200 areas of study – best known of which is the engineering school. The university has also established a reputation for itself in the field of aviation, including the first undergraduate degree in aviation and the first college airport. 23 Purdue alumni have become astronauts, including Neil Armstrong.
The English department is also strong at Purdue, and has gained a national reputation for having developed the first Online Writing Lab (OWL), a widely used reference for correct grammar, punctuation and style for academic papers.
Purdue offers academic programs at ten different schools and continues to form new ones. It also offers 19 distance learning M.A. programs such as construction management, communication, economics, and aviation management.
Purdue University is one of the leading research universities in the U.S. It has over 400 research laboratories and has been classified as having “very high research activity.” According to The Scientist magazine, Purdue is the fourth best institution for working in academia.
The university’s research faculty work in a wide variety of area including engineering, business, manufacturing, veterinary medicine, science, environment, technology and healthcare.
According to the 2016 edition of U.S. News & World Report, Purdue is tied for the 21st top public university in the U.S., tied for 61st in general, and 72nd best internationally.