harvest moon

(Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox)

The recent harvest moon shines over the Cradle of Astronauts. Purdue announces activities leading up to Homecoming 2019 as the university celebrates the conclusion of its 150th anniversary. The Take Giant Leaps campaign will conclude on Oct. 12 with an astronaut reunion celebrating 14 of the university’s alumni who have taken their own giant leaps.

WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue will use the days leading up to Homecoming 2019 to celebrate and thank the university community, alumni and friends for the past year, in which the land-grant institution recognized its remarkable giant leaps while looking toward the future to address the world’s problems.

Purdue’s 150th anniversary and its Take Giant Leaps campaign will conclude Oct. 12 with an astronaut reunion celebrating 14 of the university’s alumni who have taken their own giant leaps. The campaign launched during Homecoming 2018.

Since then, 55 Giant Leaps Series and Ideas Festival events have taken place, drawing a total attendance of nearly 45,000 people as well as 450,000 people who watched select events via livestream. More than a dozen events remain. The Giant Leaps Series and Ideas Festival events are focused on answering questions and working toward solutions for four themes: space exploration, artificial intelligence, health and longevity and sustainable planet and economy, often highlighted by Purdue research.

Homecoming activities will take place Oct. 9-12, culminating with Purdue’s football battle against the University of Maryland. The events include two speakers – including Condoleezza Rice – as part of Purdue’s Giant Leaps Series, a Homecoming parade and family-fun activities, including an opportunity to meet some astronauts.

In addition to the Homecoming activities below, here are other ways to celebrate the 150th anniversary:

  • Visit a local corn maze commemorating Purdue’s anniversary. The maze won USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for best corn maze. The maze at Exploration Acres, 6042 Newcastle Road, Lafayette, topped mazes around the nation in the contest. Exploration Acres is collaborating with Purdue’s marketing team to bring special Boilermaker activities and events to the farm this fall. More information is available online.
  • Watch the Footprints video series highlight giants leaps by alumni, including United States Olympic gold medal rower Amanda Elmore.
  • Read about Purdue’s promise to Indiana and the world.
  • Purdue 150th and Cradle of Astronauts themed merchandise is available at the Purdue Team Store in the Purdue Memorial Union and at Ross-Ade Stadium leading up to Homecoming. The merchandise also will be available online at Purdueteamstore.com.

Oct. 9

Condoleezza Rice — Giant Leaps Series: Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State, will speak as part of Purdue’s Giant Leaps Series as part of the 150th anniversary celebration. She was the 66th U.S. secretary of state, serving under President George W. Bush. The event is at 6:30 p.m. in Elliott Hall of Music. The event is sold out. Related news release.

Oct. 10

Alan Stern — “What If We Return to Pluto?”: Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant and author. He has written three books, “The U.S. Space Program After Challenger,” “Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System,” and “Chasing New Horizons.” The event is at 6:30 p.m. in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse. The event is free but a ticket is required. Related news release.

Homecoming parade: The Homecoming parade will take place at 8 p.m. The parade route will begin at Memorial Mall at the intersection of State Street and Oval Drive, will continue onto MacArthur Drive to Third Street, and will end on Martin Jischke Drive just before Stadium Avenue. More details to come.

Oct. 11

State Street dedication and Discovery Park District launch: The dedication and launch will take place from 3-5 p.m. in Squirrel Park at the corner of State Street and Airport Road. This event will feature activities to promote Purdue’s new State Street and Discovery Park District. The event also will highlight research and development being conducted in Discovery Park. Provenance, a new multi-family and single-family neighborhood development, and Crave Food Hall, a 15,000-square-foot food court in the three-building Aspire apartment complex, will be showcased.

Giant Leaps free concert – Big Gigantic with MadeinTYO: The free concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 on Purdue’s Slayter Hill. Elliott Hall of Music will serve as the rain location. The Big Gigantic duo established themselves as pioneers of live electronic music with the band’s inception in 2008. Big Gigantic mixes musically mature melodies with addictive beats and samples that are familiar to a Kanye West or LCD Soundsystem single, and crosses all styles of music, from jazz to hip-hop, and from funk to dubstep. MadeInTYO is pronounced Made In Tokyo. More information is available online.

Oct. 11 and 12

NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow Traveling Exhibit: The Journey to Tomorrow exhibit trailer is a 53-foot exhibit offering an interactive learning environment that highlights NASA’s air and space research and technology. The exhibit will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 12 on the south side of Lambert Fieldhouse. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with touchscreen monitors and learn about how NASA improves aviation, lands rovers on Mars and keeps astronauts healthy. The Journey to Tomorrow also includes hands-on displays featuring a glovebox and dynamic planet simulator; models of NASA X-Planes; the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle; and NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System. It also features an authentic moon rock brought to Earth by crew from the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission.

Oct. 12

Astronaut Reunion: The public is welcome to attend a meet and greet with the astronauts at 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Homecoming Tent Row, located near Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering. Pre-signed headshots of the astronauts will be distributed. The astronauts also will be recognized on the field during halftime.

Boilermaker Crossing fan fest: Join the pre-game fan fest from 9-11:30 a.m. in the Sally and Bob Weist Plaza between Mackey Arena and Holloway Gymnasium. Inflatables, a beer garden, giveaways, a live radio show and other family-friendly activities will all be available. The event is free and open to fans of all ages.

Homecoming celebration: From 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Stadium Mall, there will be various Homecoming activities, including family-friendly events and booths from each of the colleges. The Boiler Beer Garden returns this year for fans to stop and grab a drink on their way to Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue astronauts will be in attendance from 9:30-10:30 a.m. near the Neil Armstrong statue.

Team Arrival: Welcome the football team’s arrival to Ross-Ade Stadium at the corner of Joe Tiller Drive and John R. Wooden Drive at 9:45 a.m.

Thrill on the Hill: The Purdue “All-American” Marching Band will perform a concert at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 12 on Slayter Hill.

Purdue football vs. Maryland: The Purdue Boilermakers take on the Maryland Terrapins at noon at Ross-Ade Stadium. There will be a SAAB flyover, an astronaut and Ever True campaign themed-halftime show, and the announcement of Homecoming royalty at the game. The game is sponsored by Purdue’s College of Pharmacy.