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Purdue reflects on the life of alumnus Birch Bayh

Purdue President Mitch Daniels spent Thursday reflecting on the life of a U.S. Senator, Boilermaker and Hoosiers.

Posted: Mar. 14, 2019 11:51 PM
Updated: Mar. 15, 2019 12:03 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue President Mitch Daniels spent Thursday reflecting on the life of a U.S. Senator, Boilermaker and Hoosier.

Birch Bayh died from pneumonia at the age of 91. He received degrees from Purdue University and Indiana University.

He was famously responsible for writing the Title IX legislation that prohibited gender discrimination in education among many other important pieces of legislation.'

"Gosh," said Daniels. "It's going to be Birch. I can't be the only one who remembers this.

Bayh sought the democratic presidential nomination in 1976. Daniels said he thought he had a chance to win.

He would eventually drop out of the race and Jimmy Carter would go on to become the 39th president of the United States.

Before this, Bayh crafted a handful of important legislation that impacts the country and Purdue University.

"His imprint on this place comes in multiple forms," said Daniels.

"From Terre Haute, IN growing up on farm, Bayh was courageous with his convictions.

He started his political career at 26 years old after winning his election to the Indiana House of Representatives.

Bayh served six years there while studying for his Bachelor of Laws at Indiana University.

It was at 34 years old when he became a U.S. Senator that his footprint would leave a mark in the world of politics.

"While he was doing these important things, he personified the important characteristics that we are proud of here in Indiana," said Daniels.

He fathered Title IX, and the 25th and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The 25th Amendment created the rules for presidential succession and was adopted in 1967.

The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 and was ratified in 1971.

His last piece of legislation and arguably the most important is the Bayh-Dole Act.

It gives universities, non profits and small business the right to claim the rights of their inventions.

"He passed a bill that did something really important for the best of motivations and has done a ton of good and we are better off now that we have it," said Daniels.

Since 2003 Indiana has memorialized Birch Bayh by renaming the Federal Building in downtown Indianapolis in his honor.

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