The Centennial

Centennial.jpgIn 1969, the University celebrated its centennial. Ag Alumni had a very special effort to support this celebration. Special birthday banquets were held throughout the state with over 10,000 in attendance. The state Association helped in organizing and providing speakers and programs for these celebrations. These years of the late 1960's and early 1970's also contained another situation that was not so pleasant - the unrest and riots on College campuses. This unrest on the Purdue campus was less severe than elsewhere. Even so the situation caused considerable tension at Alumni meetings throughout the State.

Purdue agriculture, its students and Alumni were a solid core or sanity throughout this period. Even so, Dean Kohls, who attended many meetings throughout the state, found it hard to explain campus happenings to outraged alumni. At one such meeting, those in attendance were demanding to know why administrators didn't "do something." This was the hometown of one of the widely publicized campus agitators. The Dean recalls he mentioned that fact and questioned that if they had this young man in their schools throughout 12 years and apparently could do nothing, how could campus authorities be expected to do much in their short span of time! The Dean remembered the meeting settled down considerably after this point was made!

The Association'​s efforts with its agricultural museum collection continued to develop and prosper. The collection outgrew its initial space in the Ag Engineering building. In 1961, the Pioneer Farm and Home Show Exhibit was initiated at the State Fair. It was first housed in the balcony of the grandstand and in 1963 there were 37,000 visitors to the exhibit. In 1966, it was moved to the Purdue Building, in 1967 to the Horticulture Building; and in 1968 a special new building was erected to house this popular exhibit. The popularity and complexity of this activity and exhibit continued to grow. In the late 1980's, its costs were one of the largest items in the Association budget. In 1990, the Association entered into a supporting agreement with the State Fair Board. In this agreement the Association hired an individual to supervise the annual show and the Fair picked up the salary and other related costs. The Association's child had grown-up and had partially left home! No history would be complete without tracing the evolution of the one activity, which has become the major and focusing event of the Association - its annual meeting and fish fry extravaganza.