From the Dean: October 2019

Dear Purdue Engineering Community,

Today marked the grand finale of Purdue 150th Anniversary, which was kicked off in September 2018 with the ground-breaking of Schweitzer Engineering Lab. Since then, among many activities on campus, the "Engineering 2169" series invited speakers such as Vint Cerf and Steve Wozniak as part of the Ideas Festival, and July 18-20 saw the 50th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s landing on the Moon. This weekend we welcomed many Boilermaker astronauts back on campus, including 12 who are engineering alumni.

This morning, the Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center was launched at Purdue, and an official collaboration agreement then signed with the International Olympics Committee. A partnership between Purdue Athletics led by Mike Bobinski and our College of Engineering, the Center is a unique combination of sports and engineering, across research, learning and thought leadership globally. During the first quarter of the 2019 Homecoming game and right after the first touchdown, the Center and its IOC collaboration were announced together with Mr. Christophe Dubi, Executive Director of the International Olympic Games.

Ray Ewry was born four years after our University, right here in Lafayette. He was a Boilermaker engineer who majored in Mechanical Engineering. From 1900 to 1908, he won 10 gold Olympic medals in jumping, and held the world record in gold medals at Olympic Games for one hundred years and eight days, until Michael Phelps broke the record in 2008. When he was seven years old, Ray Ewry contracted polio and became wheelchair-bound. All he wanted then was to be able to stand up again. In trying to take a few small steps, he trained his muscles and will power to make the winningest giant leaps in history.

In 1924, when Ross-Ade Stadium opened, Ray Ewry spread there the soil that he collected at his last Olympics competition in 1908. This afternoon, when we walked out on the field at the Stadium, we breathed the air still infused with the spirit of small steps exemplified by Ray Ewry in the life he chose to live.

In 2020, in recognition of the 120th Anniversary of the creation of Purdue’s College of Engineering, we will celebrate "120 Small Steps” taken by many Boilermakers.

Today as in every day, Boiler up and Hail Purdue!


Mung Chiang
John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering
Purdue University