History of International Students at Purdue University | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
The year 1887 stands as an important landmark in the history of Purdue University. It was in that year that Mrs. Amelia Weir from Ottawa, Ontario, enrolled as the first student from outside the United States at Purdue University. She came to study wood carving. A year later, two students from Japan and Spain enrolled in the department of Agricultural Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering respectively. The reputation of Purdue University was beginning to spread to all corners of the globe. From this time on the number of students from other lands and the number of countries from which they came increased steadily.
Since the end of World War II, and in accordance with the formal policy promoted by the United States Department of State, there was a tremendous increase in the number of foreign students and the number of countries they represented. By 1951 it was necessary to appoint a full-time staff member as advisor to foreign students. Purdue continues to consistently have one of the largest international student populations among all public United States colleges and universities.
The increase in enrollment over the years was paralleled by the organization of the foreign students on campus. The formation of the Purdue Cosmopolitan Club was reported in the year 1907-1908. In 1916-1917, the Cosmopolitan Club affiliated with the International Corda Fratres, an international brotherhood organization. The Cosmopolitan Club aims at better understanding among foreign students as well as better understanding among foreign students and American students on the Purdue campus.
In keeping with the increased enrollment, the Purdue Cosmopolitan Club was replaced in 1945 by the International Association of Purdue University with a different constitution. However, the aims were the same, “to build an area of understanding among the people of the world here at Purdue, to unite for their mutual benefit intellectually and socially and to promote a spirit of internationalism.”
For further information on Purdue University’s international student population, see:
Master, Karson. In Recognition Of The World At Purdue’s Doorsteps: 1887-1955. West Lafayette, Indiana: International Association of Purdue, 1955. Print.
“International Students and Scholars - Purdue University.” 2014 Web. 4 Apr. 2014. http://www.iss.purdue.edu/