On April 14, 2013, Purdue University had a ceremonial unveiling of a bronze statue of the University’s beloved John Purdue (1802-1976). The awe inspiring bronze statue was created by Illinois sculptor Julie Rotblatt-Amrany. Ms. Rotblatt-Amrany was chosen from among fifteen finalists and completed the statue in December of 2012.
The statue has Purdue seated on a bench in a location he always favored nearly 140 years ago. He is profiled with his cane and an open book resting on his lap. His strong and reflective spirit has been formidably captured by artist Rotblatt-Arany. A memorial plaque rests nearby that reads: “For John Purdue, education was the flame that lit the world.” The quote comes from a biography of Purdue written by his great-great grandniece, Irena Scott. Ms. Scott was, also, on hand for the festivities and remarked on what an honor is was to be there and to have a quote from her book adorn the plaque.
The statue came to be through the generous work of the Purdue alumni and through the efforts of the Order of the Key Class of 2012. Purdue was a noted businessman in Lafayette and was the university’s main benefactor for most of his life. The University is proud to bring the statue to the campus so that students, and others, might pause to remember him.
The university began accepting students in 1874 and it is hoped that the students will finally get to know and understand their school’s namesake. For the students at the University of Purdue, their loving founding father has returned home to his beloved campus.