Purdue University
#62 Overall Influence#1204 Desirability Rank

Purdue University

Public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

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By James Barham, PhD

Purdue University was founded in 1869 with substantial financing provided by industrialist John Purdue. Its purpose was to train students in agriculture and engineering. The school officially opened for business in 1874 and grew quickly.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Purdue had been organized into five schools: agriculture, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and pharmacy. Later, schools of education and home economics were added. An early attempt at creating a medical school was later abandoned.

In other respects, Purdue was spectacularly successful. By 1925 the university was home to the largest number of engineering students in the US. It remained the nation’s largest engineering school for the next half-century.

Today, Purdue operates four satellite campuses: in Hammond, Fort Wayne, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Overall, the Purdue system has a student body approaching 75,000 souls.

Purdue is associated with 13 Nobel Prize winners, including:

  • Physicists, Ben Roy Mottelson, Edward Mills Purcell, Julian Schwinger & Wolfgang Pauli
  • Chemists, Ei-ichi Negishi, Herbert C. Brown & Akira Suzuki
  • Economist, Vernon L. Smith

In addition, the Turing Award winning computer scientist, Alan J. Perlis, spent time here as a researcher.

Among other prominent Purdue-connected individuals, we may note the following:

  • Astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Roger Chaffee & Eugene Cernan
  • Heroic airline pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger
  • Mathematicians, Andrew Majda, Shreeram Shankar Abhyankar & Feydoon Shahidi
  • Computer scientists, Mikhail Atallah, Markus Kuhn & Jill Zimmerman
  • Computer software developer, Sanjiva Weerawarana
  • Physicist, Albert Overhauser
  • Chemist, C.N.R. Rao
  • Chemical engineer, Rakesh Agrawal
  • Molecular biologists, Seymour Benzer & Ronald Breaker
  • Microbiologist, Rita Colwell
  • Nanotechnology pioneers, Supriyo Datta & James Tour
  • Physiologist, Leslie Geddes
  • Economist, Hugo Sonnenschein
  • Anthropologist, Peter Peregrine
  • Novelist and playwright, Booth Tarkington
  • Actors, George Peppard & Kenneth Choi
  • Stand-up comic, Jim Gaffigan
  • Photographer, Margaret Bourke-White

From Wikipedia

Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. The university was founded in 1869 after Lafayette businessman John Purdue donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.

Source: Wikipedia


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Hovde Hall of Administration, West Lafayette IN 47907-2040

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

10 per 100k

Violent Crime

1 per 100k

Influential People

Who are Purdue University's Most influential alumni?

Purdue University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of . Purdue University’s most academically influential people include Arthur G. Hansen, Joe Forehand, and Valerie Taylor .

Arthur G. Hansen

American philanthropist

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Joe Forehand

American businessman

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Valerie Taylor

African American computer scientist

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Robert Altenkirch


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Carlos Albizu Miranda
Carlos Albizu Miranda

Puerto Rican educator

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Rusi Taleyarkhan
Rusi Taleyarkhan

American physicist

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Simone Elkeles
Simone Elkeles

American writer

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Orville Redenbacher
Orville Redenbacher

American businessman

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Gerald D. Hines

American businessman

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David A. Bednar
David A. Bednar

Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Fritz Leonhardt

German engineer

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Jill Zimmerman

Computer scientist

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