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Jul 08 2017
by Madalyn Deselem

7 People You Didn't Know Were Purdue University Alumni

By Madalyn Deselem - Jul 08 2017

Purdue University is an establishment known for its many achievements in academics, sports and research. However, the talent doesn't stop after graduation. Many individuals who graduate from the old gold and black continued on to contribute great things to not only the United States but the world. Here are some famous faces who you didn't know attended Indiana's Land Grant University. 

1. Steele Johnson — Olympic Diver


This Indiana native won the Olympic silver medal for diving in 2016 at the Olympics in Rio. During his time at Purdue, the aquatic center was his home. He not only represents his Purdue pride in the U.S. but in countries around the world with his sport. He's pretty easy on the eyes as well. 

2. Neil Armstrong — Astronaut

Wikimedia Commons

Known as the "cradle of astronauts," Purdue is proud to have Neil Armstrong as one of its alumni. In 1969, Neil became the first man to set foot on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. He even has his own statue and building located at Purdue's engineering mall. 

3. Orville Redenbacher — Popcorn Entrepreneur 

Wikimedia Commons

Just about everyone has seen a commercial on TV for Orville Redenbacher popcorn. This American classic was the product of a Purdue alumni! Redenbacher was highly involved on Purdue's campus, being a brother of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, an athlete for the track team and a member of the Purdue All-American Marching Band. 

4. Jim Gaffigan — Comedian

Wikimedia Commons

After being the class clown at Purdue, Gaffigan went on to become a famous stand-up comic and actor. He has been featured on Comedy Central, The Ellen Show and even did voice over work for Bob's Burgers on Fox. This fellow Boilermaker is representing Purdue on stages across America and bringing the laughs every time. He has also returned to his roots on several occasions to perform at Purdue's Elliott Hall of Music

 5. Drew Brees — NFL Football Player

Wikimedia Commons

This 10-time Pro Bowl pick and Super Bowl XLIV Champion started his illustrious career in none other than West Lafayette, Indiana with the Purdue Boilermakers. Not only is Purdue known as the "cradle of astronauts," it's also called the "cradle of quarterbacks." He is now a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and has pledged millions of dollars to refine his alma mater's football stadium. 

6. Ward Cunningham — Developer of the Wiki Concept

Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia: A student's best friend. Cunningham received a Master's in computer science from Purdue and with it developed the Wiki Concept, which allows people to edit pages of Wikipedia to provide further information. Next time you are writing a research paper, thank Cunningham and his Purdue education for helping you not to fail. 

7. Ted Allen — Television Personality

Flickr Creative Commons

For all you cooking enthusiasts out there, you have probably seen this face on Chopped and Chopped Junior. Allen worked in Lafayette for the Journal and Courier before leaving to enter the television industry. He got his start at Purdue with a degree in psychology.

It is always good to know where you came from, especially when it comes to your college. Purdue University takes great pride in its alumni and it is up to us current students to keep the legacy alive. Once a Boilermaker, always a Boilermaker!

Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Madalyn Deselem - Purdue University

Madalyn is a freshman at Purdue University studying Biology with Pre-Medical advising with the hopes of becoming a dermatologist. She enjoys her jobs as a barista and a freelance tutor, hammocking in obscure locations, growing succulent plants, singing her heart out on stage, and working out at the gym. She is passionate about philanthropy and making a difference in the realm of mental illness awareness. You can find her on Twitter using the handle @maddie_deselem and on Instagram as @maddie.deselem

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