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Purdue celebrates Black Excellence

Purdue is committed to celebrating Black excellence with stories about the giant leaps made by Purdue’s outstanding Black students, alumni, faculty and staff. We honor the individuals from our Boilermaker history who have made significant impact on our university, and those who are continuing to do so. As part of Black History Month and beyond, we commemorate those who helped make Purdue University the outstanding institution of higher learning it is today.

Purdue University
Black Cultural Center 

A vibrant element of university life, the Purdue Black Cultural Center offers a wealth of programs and services for the entire campus community. The BCC brings together the diversity of the Purdue family by nurturing and presenting the rich heritage of the African American experience through art, history and cultural understanding.

Explore the Stories

Carlos Mahaffey

Examining the role culture plays in medical distrust

Carlos Mahaffey grew up knowing about the Tuskegee syphilis study, in which researchers did not obtain informed consent from the 600 Black male participants who were denied penicillin even after it became widely available. For many Black Americans, the serious …

Don-Terry Veal Jr. stands in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

3+2 dual-degree partnership provides a perfect opportunity for eager students

Don-Terry Veal Jr. is a pioneer in the 3+2 dual degree partnership between Morgan State University and Purdue.

Assistant professor of epidemiology Shandey Malcolm

Reducing risky sexual behaviors among youth

For a decade, Shandey Malcolm worked in the Ministry of Health for Turks and Caicos Islands, most recently as the national epidemiologist. Now an assistant professor of epidemiology at Purdue University, she leverages her expertise in epidemiology to find determinants …


National Pan-Hellenic Council: Nigel’s story

Purdue University’s Nigel Taylor shares how the historically Black Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has been a true place of belonging for him on campus. Purdue hosts seven of the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s (NPHC) nine organizations. Learn more about Purdue’s …

Richard Benberry

Taking a team approach to inspire students

Richard Benberry is the new principal for PPHS North, located at the former Broad Ripple High School building.

Helen Bass Williams, Purdue’s first African American faculty member.

Purdue’s First African American professor’s impact felt across generations

Decades after her death in 1991, several examples of pioneering educator Helen Bass Williams’ impact at Purdue persist.

Shawn Taylor

Podcast Ep. 66: Entrepreneur Shawn Taylor on Embracing Change and Developing Authentic Relationships

In this episode of “This Is Purdue,” we’re talking to Shawn Taylor (Management ’82), a successful entrepreneur and the newest member of the Purdue University Board of Trustees. Listen as Shawn describes his childhood growing up on the south side …

Faith Specner

Finding the right major

“Where are you going to college?” “What’s your major?” If you’re hearing these questions on a loop, you’re not alone.

Purdue Global alumna Ashley Tippins

Purdue Global alumna aims to create change in her community as a nurse

Ashley Tippins’ desire to serve patients’ needs motivated her to relentlessly pursue three nursing credentials via Purdue Global.

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Purdue renames
residence halls for
Parker Sisters 

When Frieda and Winifred Parker enrolled at Purdue in 1946, they could not live on campus. The two sisters and their family spearheaded a campaign that led Purdue to integrate university housing in 1947. In October 2021, Purdue dedicated the Frieda and Winifred Parker Residence Halls to honor their commitment to the fight for equity and access in education.

Black history at
Purdue University 

Learn more about Black history at Purdue, including early pioneers and key events that helped shape the university’s future, through this Purdue Archives and Special Collections timeline.