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Spring 2021

True 'Grit'

Purdue Engineering is in the unique position of shouldering the land-grant responsibility of student access and success, and advancing research for transformational impact to society.

by Cynthia Sequin

We continue to propel Purdue Engineering to the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale. We have the largest undergraduate enrollment among the top 10 engineering colleges in the United States. In Spring 2019, we graduated a record number of women engineers, and the minority graduation rate exceeded the College average for the first time. We welcome the most academically prepared and diverse incoming classes, and we excel at innovation in learning — residential and online, undergraduate and graduate, in and outside the classroom.

Anticipation is growing for the Gateway Complex, a 255,000-square-foot, two-building facility that will benefit eight schools within the College. Recently approved for construction, it is being financed by the State of Indiana, Lilly Endowment, and a naming gift by Bill and Marty Dudley. It will be the largest single facility project in the campus’ recent history. And Gateway III: Potter Hall major renovation and expansion is next, along with 12 other facility projects in the 10-year engineering space master plan.

We led the Indiana innovation ecosystem to launch the Indy 5G Zone, while creating knowledge and jobs together in the Zucrow Aerospace District and attracting Saab and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to Purdue. In two years’ time, we have also won six new national research centers, funded by NSF, DARPA, NASA, IARPA, USAID and TSMC. We are proud to design the nation’s fastest hypersonic wind tunnel and create the nation’s first fully digitized nuclear reactor. Our patent applications, totaling more than 400, have increased 40 percent over the past two years.

We are making important advances that will positively impact our College for years to come. Research awards saw a 52 percent jump, including the largest single award in College history: $70M for the USAID LASER PULSE consortium. During Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University, our team exceeded its goal by 47 percent and became the first public engineering college to raise more than $1B, thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends.

Homecoming 2019 marked the grand finale of the Purdue 150th anniversary; a yearlong Ideas Festival that included the “Engineering 2169” series with invited speakers, such as Vint Cerf and Steve Wozniak; and the 50th anniversary celebration of alumnus Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon. We announced the Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center in collaboration with Purdue Athletics and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In December, at Winter Commencement, we crossed the milestone of 100,000 living alumni.

Looking forward, we will celebrate 120 Small Steps in 2020 to commemorate our 120th anniversary. Boiler up!