Purdue University Northwest
Two Campuses – One Rich History Since 1946
Both Purdue Hammond and Purdue Westville have been making history in the Northwest Indiana region since 1946.
Before we unified to create Purdue Northwest, Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central each had 70 years of growth and accomplishments, which we share below:
Purdue North Central – Established 1946
Purdue University became a presence in the area shortly after World War II when the University began offering technical courses at extension centers in La Porte and Michigan City. The centers offered Purdue’s complete freshman engineering program, as well as a two-year technical institute.
Purdue Barker Center
In 1948 the Barker Welfare Foundation made available to the University the John Barker mansion. All of the area classes were consolidated in this fine old structure in the spring of 1949. Through the 1950s, enrollments at the Barker Memorial Center continued to grow, as did the population of the north central region of the state.
By the early 1960s, it was evident that this part of the state was due for a population boom and significant industrial expansion, and Purdue began to make plans for a new regional campus that could more adequately serve the area.
Permanent Campus Opens
This photo shows the first students walking into the Education Building (now Schwarz Hall), 1967.
In May of 1962 Purdue University, through the Ross-Ade Foundation, purchased 160 acres in La Porte County at a location that could best serve the cities of La Porte, Michigan City and Valparaiso. With the site available, serious plans started on the development of the first building of the new campus. The Education building, containing 90,000 square feet, provided modern academic facilities when it opened its doors for the Fall 1967 semester, with an enrollment of 1,200 students. In September 1968, construction was begun on a $750,000 addition on the east side of the building. One year later, the addition was ready for occupancy. In 1984, this building was renamed Schwarz Hall in honor of Robert F. Schwarz, the first dean and director.
Library-Student-Faculty Building (LSF), 1977
In 1969, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated funds for construction of a second building. The Library-Student-Faculty building (LSF) was dedicated in March, 1975. It encompasses 100,000 square feet of space, 30,000 of which serve as the library facility. In February 1993, construction began on the 70,000 square-foot Technology building, and was completed in 1995. The 2,600 square-foot Robotics and Flexible Manufacturing Technology Laboratory, built in the spring of 1985 and previously located in the LSF building, was moved to the Technology Building.
In May of 2002, Purdue North Central announced the opening of the North Central Veterinary Emergency Center (NCVEC). The $1.4 million facility is located on the Westville campus and was made possible through a unique, public-private partnership that brings together Purdue and an investor group of 36 area veterinarians. The center provides 24-hour emergency and specialty veterinary care to the owners of dogs, cats, and other small animals within 50 miles.
The James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex
On October 16, 2014, Purdue North Central broke ground for its fourth campus building. On April 8, 2016, the Purdue Board of Trustees named the building in honor of Chancellor James B. Dworkin. The building is the center of student activity on campus. With the H.D. Kesling Gymnasium, walking track, exercise rooms, locker rooms, study lounge and meeting rooms for student clubs, students have a new place to work out, study or socialize when not attending class.
Purdue Calumet – Established 1946
Hammond Technical Institute, 1946
The demands of World War II prompted the birth of Purdue University Calumet. Technical classes were offered to Calumet Region plant workers as part of a national defense training program in cooperation with the federal government. When the war ended in 1945, Purdue decided to continue its presence in Northwest Indiana, with a university extension operation. Purdue credit courses were introduced Feb. 25, 1946, with classes held at various locations across the Region.
Purdue University Northwest-Established 2016
On February 26, 2014, Purdue University announced a plan to unify the administration of the university’s two northwest Indiana campuses, Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central. On July 18, 2014, the Purdue Board of Trustees approved Purdue University Northwest as the name of the unified Hammond and Westville campuses. Dr. Thomas Keon, Chancellor of Purdue Calumet, was appointed Chancellor-Designate of Purdue Northwest on November 20, 2015.
Unification was completed on July 1, 2016. Purdue Northwest is now a comprehensive university enrolling more than 12,000 students, employing more than 1,500 faculty and staff, and offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on two campuses.