Colombia Purdue Initiative — CPI

Did you know...?

The close bond between Purdue University and Colombia began decades ago.  It has sustained and grown stronger over time, but especially in the current decade, since Purdue launched its Colombia Purdue Initiative in 2010.  In six short years, hundreds of individuals from all across Colombia and Purdue have crossed the Caribbean to explore and implement collaborations that matter to our collective futures. 

Our greatest joint asset, however, is you – our alumni  – you share a deep, lifelong attachment to your beloved country of Colombia and to your university family here at Purdue (and around the world!).

This section is an opportunity for us to feature and appreciate the stories of our common history and to acknowledge the contributions of those who have built the Colombia Purdue legacy.


Lowell Hardin, Purdue alum and Professor Emeritus, a founding father of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

(Source: CIAT Blog News)


Lowell Hardin devoted his life to the pursuit of sustainable agriculture development. His legacy is so great that it will continue to nourish many generations of Purdue students. His death, occurred in April of 2015, was deeply mourned at Purdue, but also at CIAT, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Hardin, along with Lewis M. Roberts, Associate Director of Agricultural Sciences at the Rockefeller foundation, created CIAT.

It all started back in 1966, when both of them conceived the idea of an international institute dedicated to agricultural research and training. This idea crystallized one year later with the foundation of CIAT. The initiative received support from the Colombian government and the Kellogg Foundation. Over time, CIAT has become a strategic player in agriculture forums worldwide.

Hardin was also a true boilermaker. He graduated from Purdue in 1939, with a B. A. in Agricultural Economics. Four years later, he returned and rejoined the department, first as faculty between 1943 and 1965, and then as Department Head between 1953 and 1965. His desire to find a new path of his own in international agricultural development took him to the Ford Foundation in 1965. While at the Foundation, Hardin was at the forefront of the creation of 15 agricultural research centers, better known as the CGIAR consortium. CIAT was among them.

In 1981, Hardin returned to Purdue once more, where he continued to work as faculty. In 1984 he was recognized as professor emeritus, and was awarded with an honorary doctorate in 1990. During his time as Purdue faculty, Hardin taught many of today’s professors at the College of Agriculture. We can cite here, among many, Gebisa Ejeta, distinguished professor of agronomy and 2009 World Food Prize laureate, and Thomas Hertel, distinguished professor of agriculture.

We hope Hardin’s work in sustainable development will continue to be part of Purdue’s spirit of commitment to social justice. As Hardin himself stated during the 30th anniversary of the foundation of CIAT (1967-1997): "If a society trains good people, creates or strengthens institutions in which these trained people can be productive; if these skilled persons generate better technologies, improved governance, and public policies and then put them to work, productivity will increase and, as a result, the well-being of the population will rise"


CIAT director, Rubén Echeverría, visits Lowell Hardin at Purdue in 2011 (Taken from CIAT Blog News)


Picture of the original CIAT founding proposal document written by Hardin and Roberts in 1966 (Taken from CIAT Blog News)



Help us build our Colombia Purdue history!

We found this photograph within the  Purdue Library’s Archives and Special Collections. It was taken September 1969 in BOGOTA during a Purdue Alumni Club meeting. However, we do not know the people or story of this image -- do you recognize someone (maybe yourself) in the picture? What is your story? Or your friend’s story? What is the history of the Purdue Bogota Alumni Club? Who organized it? What did they do and why did it stop?

Por Favor, HELP us build the story of the Colombia Purdue legacy and SHARE what you know about this picture. Click HERE to write to us and to upload other photos and stories that you saved from your Purdue adventures as a student and your family and life experiences after Purdue. 

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