Armstrong Hall Dedication

Purdue and 16 of its astronaut alumni on Saturday Oct. 27 dedicated the university's Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, hailing the new $53.2 million building as a gateway to engineering research and education.


In addition to the School of Aeronautics & Astronautics, the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, located at Stadium and Northwestern avenues, also houses the School of Materials Engineering, Department of Engineering Education, and several engineering programs, including the Minority Engineering Program, Women in Engineering Program and Engineering Projects in Community Service, or EPICS. The facility also houses the dean's office and engineering administration.


The building's distinctive winglike roof extensions are part of a design that mimics the appearance of an aircraft to symbolize Purdue's contributions to flight and the space program. One of the wings, sheathed in metallic panels, hangs over the entrance and a sculpture of Armstrong. Conduits, ductwork, pipes for the chilled-water air conditioning system and other mechanical elements are exposed in the ceiling to provide a sense of engineering's role in the vital functions of a building.


Walkways inside the building look down on an expansive atrium, which has a 53-foot-high ceiling. Hanging in the atrium is the replica of the Apollo 1 command module identical to the one in which Purdue alumni Roger Chaffee, BSAE’57 and Virgil "Gus" Grissom, BSME’50 and fellow astronaut Ed White died in 1967. The replica is being loaned to Purdue by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.


A curving 50-foot-long, floor-to-ceiling "exhibitory" near the atrium on the first floor houses a photomural of Chaffee's life. In the center of the mural is a display of a lunar sample collected during the Apollo 17 mission commanded by Eugene Cernan, a Purdue alumnus and the last astronaut to walk on the moon. The sample, on loan from NASA, was provided by Chaffee's widow, Martha Chafee. The Chaffee mural will be on display for about a year. Fall 2008 will see the installation of an interactive exhibit aimed at audiences including elementary school children, alumni, groups and scholars from various disciplines.


A bronze sculpture of Armstrong, looking pensive and studious as an undergraduate in the 1950s, sits on a stone plinth in front of the building. His right hand rests on a small stack of books, and his slide rule is removed from its case as though ready for action. To the left of the statue is the replica of the footsteps that Armstrong took on the moon, correct to the size and distance taken between each step.


Photo from left above:

Former Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan during the dedication of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering. Armstrong and Cernan, the first and last men to walk on the moon, joined 14 other astronauts and former astronauts who are Purdue alumni at the dedication ceremony.

Left below: Neil Armstrong with the sculpture by Chas Fagan

Right: Replica of the footsteps on the moon

Photos by Jennifer LaGuire


Please click on the link below for the video of the Dedication ceremony.


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