Purdue University - People - Alumni

Alumni

Purdue alumni have achieved recognition in a range of areas, particularly in science and industry. The university's alumni pool collectively holds over 15,000 United States patents.

Purdue has produced 22 astronauts, including Gus Grissom, the first vertically launched person to return to space, Neil Armstrong, the first to walk on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the most recent astronaut to do so. Over one third of all of NASA's manned space missions have had at least one Purdue graduate as a crew member.

In science, Purdue has also produced a trio of Nobel prize winning physicists in Edward Mills Purcell, Ben Roy Mottelson, and Julian Schwinger; as well as a trio of Nobel prize winning chemists in Akira Suzuki, Herbert C. Brown, and Ei-ichi Negishi. Other noted Purdue alumni in science include pioneer of robotics and remote control technology Thomas B. Sheridan, Debian founder Ian Murdock, Founding father and key contributor to the Chinese nuclear weapon programs: Chinese physicist Deng Jiaxian, biochemist Edwin T. Mertz, who is credited with discovery of high-protein corn and beans.

In business and economics, Purdue alumni include Stephen Bechtel, owner of Bechtel Corporation; Nobel prize winning economist Vernon L. Smith; Federal Reserve Bank president Jeffrey Lacker; and popcorn specialist Orville Redenbacher. In 2010, Bloomberg also revealed that Purdue was one of the universities in America with the most undergraduate alumni serving as chief executive officers of Standard & Poor's 500 firms. They are Gregory Wasson, president/CEO of Walgreen Co, Mark Miller, chairman/president/CEO of Stericycle Inc, Charles Davidson, chairman/CEO of Noble Energy Inc, Samuel Allen, chairman /president/CEO of Deere & Co., Donald Thompson, president/COO of McDonald's Corp., and John Martin, chairman/CEO of Gilead Sciences Inc.

In government and culture, Purdue alumni include former Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, Pulitzer Prize winners Booth Tarkington and John T. McCutcheon, theater and television director Tom Moore, CEO of Rand Corporation James Thomson, founder and CEO of C-SPAN Brian Lamb, former Governor of Indiana Harry G. Leslie, former Governor of Mississippi Kirk Fordice, former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture Earl L. Butz, former United States Senator Birch Bayh, 2012 Presidential Candidate Herman Cain, Current West Virginia Congressman David McKinley, Chinese nationalist General Sun Liren, Anthony W. Miller, United States Deputy Secretary of Education, and University of Chicago president Hugo F. Sonnenschein.

In sports, Purdue has produced basketball coach John Wooden, basketball Hall of Famers Stretch Murphy, Piggy Lambert and Rick Mount; NBA Champions Paul Hoffman, Herm Gilliam, Frank Kendrick, Jerry Sichting, Glenn Robinson, and Brian Cardinal and NBA All-Stars Glenn Robinson, Brad Miller, Terry Dischinger, and Joe Barry Carroll. Purdue has three NFL Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in Drew Brees, Bob Griese, and Len Dawson; in addition a total of 19 Purdue alumni have been on a Super Bowl-winning team, including ten of the past 12 Super Bowl Champions. Purdue also produced Super Bowl IV winning coach Hank Stram. Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor's degree in vehicle structure engineering.

The Dauch Alumni Center acts as a showcase for the university's alumni. The 67,000-square-foot (6,200 m2) center houses the offices of the Purdue Alumni Association and University Development. It is a destination and gathering area for the Purdue Alumni Association’s 68,000 members and more than 410,000 living alumni.

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