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Purdue University. Board of Trustees



  • Existence: 1865-

Historical Information

The Board of Trustees was created in 1865 after the Indiana General Assembly accepted the agreement of the Morrill Act of Congress on March 6, 1865 in order to establish a land-grant college or university in Indiana. In the special session of the Indiana General Assembly – called on April 8, 1869 and finally passed on May 6, 1869 – Senator Stein of Lafayette created the bill to accept the gifts of $15,000 in cash and one hundred acres of land from John Purdue and $50,000 from Tippecanoe County for establishment of Purdue University. Originally created as “The Trustees of the Indiana Agricultural College,” the first meeting of the Board of Trustees under their current title, “The Board of Trustees of Purdue University,” was on May 25, 1869 at the Lahr Hotel in Lafayette. Under this act, John Purdue was also made a life member of the Board; even if he were to cease being an active member he would continue to serve the board in an advisory capacity.

Although the term length and number of members on the board was changed by several acts in early years of the Board, in present day ten individuals sit on the Board of Trustees and act as representatives of the people of the state of Indiana to ensure the university carries out its mission competently, honestly, and economically. Since the first meeting of the Board of Trustees, the various individuals who have served the Board have included farmers, business owners, individuals in legislative positions, authors, office holders of the University, and a wide array of other occupations. In contemporary meetings, a student may serve on the Board of Trustees. Notable past members of the Board include United States President Benjamin Harrison, John Purdue, George Ade, David Edward Ross, novelist Charles Major, John A. Stein, and Virginia Claypool Meredith. Throughout the years, the Board of Trustees have passed various administration and legislation laws for the betterment of the University. The Board of Trustees continues to hold meetings and work with the University today.


The Trustees and the Officers of Purdue University 1865 – 1940. Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.


Topping, Robert W. The Book of Trustees Purdue University 1865 – 1989. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University, 1989.

Found in 10 Collections and/or Records:

Purdue Honorary Doctorates records

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 65, Placement: 12, Folder: 1
Identifier: UA 169
Scope and Contents The records are a compilation of all individuals that received honorary doctorates from Purdue between 1888 and 2013. The list contains the date and discipline the degrees which were awarded. Famous honorary doctorates include Neil Armstrong, Eugene Cernan, Mitch Daniels, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., and Darlene Clark Hine.
Dates: 1888 - 2013

J. C. Allen and Son, Inc. photographs and negatives

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 25
Scope and Contents Glass and film negatives, and photographic prints of Purdue University buildings, faculty, staff, and students, as well as major campus events from the 1910s to the 1970s.  Please see the External Documents section for a complete list of the items.
Dates: 1915 - 1974; Majority of material found within 1920 - 1959

Virginia Claypool Meredith papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 31, Placement: 14
Identifier: MSF 265
Scope and Contents The collection consists of three folders which contain 63 articles about or by Virginia Claypool Meredith as well as a four leaf clover she found on the site of the Purdue Memorial Union Building immediately preceding the building dedication ceremonies.
Dates: 1851 - 2002

Purdue University Office of Publications Oral History Program collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2
Scope and Contents The Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection documents Purdue University history through oral history interviews with Purdue University professors and administrators. Types of materials include: printed material, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, compact discs, and digital materials. Interview topics include Purdue history and changes in administration and academic departments.
Dates: 1969 - 1989; Majority of material found within 1970 - 1972

Purdue University Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 58
Scope and Contents The Purdue University Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes collection documents the operations of the Board of Trustees. Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees include approving the budget of the University, voting to appoint new University presidents, naming buildings, and establishing departments within the University. The collection includes meeting minutes, related documents, and calendars used by the President of the University at meetings of the Board of Trustees.
Dates: 1865 - 2020

Purdue University Board of Trustees Office records, addition 01

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20110426

Purdue University Board of Trustees Office records, addition 02

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20110916

Purdue University Board of Trustees Office records, addition 04

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20151216
Dates: 1967 - 2010; Majority of material found within 1990s - 2010

Purdue University Board of Trustees Officers photographs

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20160414.1

Purdue University Board of Trustees Officers photographs, addition 01

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20200403