WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Purdue 150th anniversary celebration comes to an end later this month, but university leaders don't plan to stop the progress made during the year-long celebration.
"Person after person, especially among our faculty, have said 'We're not going to let this stop, are we?' I think people have really enjoyed our 'ramping up the traffic flow' of fascinating figures, worldwide authorities and big topics through campus," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. "I think it will now be incumbent on us to keep on going."
Since the 'Giant Leaps' series was launched during Homecoming 2018, 55 different events have taken place. The events have brought nearly 45,000 people to campus and 450,00 online viewers.
Guests like Capt. Sully Sullenberger, U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, former first lady Laura Bush, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and many others have all spoken in West Lafayette.
Daniels said Purdue met the goal it set out for.
"We always said that the outcome for this project when it was complete was more people worldwide, when they thought of places of intellectual ferment, where big ideas and big concepts were being studied and debated, would think of Purdue," said Daniels. "And I think that's probably happened."
"The 150th will come to a formal close, but I take it as an assignment to do all we can to maintain that momentum that I think has been accomplished," said Daniels.
The end of the campaign is at homecoming on Oct. 12, and the university is planning a 'grand finale.'
Purdue is welcoming back 14 astronauts for an astronaut reunion on Oct. 12. The public's first glimpse of the astronauts will be during the Oct. 10 Homecoming parade. Steele Johnson, a Purdue alumnus, Olympic silver medalist, and NCAA champion in men’s diving will serve as grand marshal.
The Homecoming parade will take place at 8 p.m., according to a news release. Following the homecoming parade, there will be a pep rally on the lawn of the Krach Leadership Center, and Purdue football Coach Jeff Brohm is scheduled to appear at 9:15 p.m.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak on October 9th. She was the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush. The event is at 6:30 p.m. in Elliott Hall of Music. The event is sold out.
The State Street and Discovery Park dedication will be October 11th. The dedication and launch will take place from 3-5 p.m. in Squirrel Park at the corner of State Street and Airport Road. This event will feature activities to promote Purdue’s new State Street and Discovery Park District.
A free concert featuring Big Gigantic with MadeinTYO will be Oct. 11 on Purdue’s Slayter Hill at 7:30 p.m. The Big Gigantic duo is a live electronic music band.
The 'Giant Leaps' campaign will come to a close with the astronaut reunion on the morning of the homecoming football game. The public is welcome to attend a meet and greet with the astronauts from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Homecoming Tent Row, located near Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering. Pre-signed headshots of the astronauts will be distributed. The astronauts also will be recognized on the field during halftime of the Purdue vs. Maryland game.