President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Land Grant Act, which turned public lands over to any state that agreed to use the land sale proceeds to maintain a college teaching agriculture and the “mechanic arts.”
The Indiana General Assembly votes to participate in the plan and takes steps to establish such an institution.
The Indiana General Assembly chooses the Lafayette area for the new institution and accepts a $150,000 gift from John Purdue, as well as $50,000 from Tippecanoe County and 100 acres
from local residents. The legislature names the new school Purdue University.
Groundbreaking for the first campus buildings.
The first buildings on campus include the Boiler and Gas House, the Military Hall and Gymnasium, the Ladies Hall, Purdue Hall, and the Pharmacy Building. All of these building were completed by 1874, and none of them remain today.
Purdue’s first president, Richard Owen, starts his term.
Classes begin with six instructors and 39 students.
John Bradford Harper earns the first Purdue University degree.
University Hall (known as the Main Building) is completed, becoming the central building on the Purdue campus. Today, it remains the oldest building on campus.