Chicago, IL | Certificate of Distinction: 1945
Edward C. Elliott was born in Chicago IL in 1874 but grew up in North Platte, NE. He attended the University of Nebraska where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1891 and a Master of Arts degree in 1897. He began his career in education at a high school in Leadville, CO where he served as superintendent for five years. He resigned from his position as superintendent in 1903 to accept a fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Elliott found his true passion for education administration while at Columbia and obtained two doctorates degrees in 1905 in philosophy and education. After graduation, he accepted the position of associate professor in education at the University of Wisconsin. Four years later he became the director of the Course for the Training of Teachers at the University of Wisconsin. In this position he co-authored many momentous studies on education and developed the first rating scale for teachers in the country. In 1916 Elliott became the Chancellor at the University of Montana and in 1922 he became the president of Purdue University. Over his 23 years at Purdue the university experienced its largest period of growth; enrollment more than doubled, 28 major buildings were established, and the net worth of the university tripled. He was a key player in establishing the Graduate School and the School of Home Economics as well as the Ross-Ade Foundation, the Purdue Research Foundation, and the Purdue Aeronautics Corporation. Purdue was also the first university to own and operate its own airport because of his leadership. During WWII he served on the U.S. Committee on War-Time Requirements for Specialized Personnel and as the chief of the Division of Professional and Technical Employment and Training. In 1945 Elliott retired from his presidency after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. The Board of Trustees then created the office of President Emeritus specifically for him. However, his work did not stop there. He and his wife then moved to Washington D.C. for two years where he directed a study on pharmaceutical education. Upon returning to Lafayette Elliott was named Director of Educational Relations for the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. In 1956 he was awarded the National Sward of Meritorious Civilian Service and in 1958 Purdue renamed its Hall of Music the Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music. This was the first building on campus to be named after a former president. Elliott died on June 16, 1960 at the age of 85 after suffering a stroke three years prior.