Cultivating loyalty, thereby keeping alumni connected to Purdue University, has been the central purpose of the Purdue Alumni Association since Purdue's first graduate, chemistry major John Bradford Harper, received his bachelor’s degree in 1875.
The Purdue Alumni Association exists to encourage the interest of alumni and friends in the University and in each other, and to contribute to the quality and progress of Purdue University.
“To Relentlessly Deliver Purdue-to-Alumni and Alumni-to-Purdue”
Purdue Alumni advances its vision with world-class excellence, in all facets of the organization with the über goal of becoming the most impactful alumni organization in the world—for Members, for Alumni and for Purdue.
Purdue Alumni Association History
J. B. Harper recognized the need for graduates to stay in touch, and in 1878 he stepped forward to found "The General Alumni Association" and serve as the first president. The Purdue Alumni Association has been helping maintain the image of Purdue University world-wide and bringing Purdue alumni and friends together around-the-world ever since. He set in motion what would become a long history of successful individuals and events that have shaped the Purdue Alumni Association and Purdue University into world-class organizations. Here are a few of the key historical events & dates:
- Alumni Clubs were founded in Chicago, Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1890, helping to keep Purdue connections strong with alumni away from campus
- The Purdue Alumni Association was the first entity on campus that communicated to alumni. The first publication, the Purdue Bulletin, was a compilation of letters from graduates to their classmates with a bit of campus news included. In 1912, the Purdue Bulletin was re-titled the Purdue Alumnus, a publication still thriving after 100 years.
- Purdue alumni have played a critical role in building campus, beginning with one of the first fundraising campaigns to build the Purdue Memorial Union in 1912. Combined with student fees, enough money was collected to complete the project dedicated in 1924.
- In 1927, a state statute was officially enacted that added three (originally just one) alumni elected trustees to the Purdue University Board of Trustees. George Ade ‘87 had been serving in the alumni trustee role by himself since 1909.
- In 1953, the Purdue Alumni Association developed a new position, and they named R.J. Rudolph the first Executive Director of the Purdue Alumni Association.
- Purdue’s athletic booster group, the John Purdue Club, was founded thanks to the involvement of the Purdue Alumni Association in 1958.
- In 1964, the Purdue Alumni Association hosted their first international tour, traveling with a group of alumni to Europe
- In 2004, with over 400,000 alumni, the Alumni Association moved to the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center on the south side of campus. Office space was needed to accommodate increasing membership, the Purdue Alumnus magazine preparation, alumni clubs, and the international travel program.
- 2005 saw the launch of the Alumni Association’s student membership program, Purdue Alumni Student Experience (PASE), which quickly became the largest student group on the West Lafayette campus.