1928, 1929 Grads Influence the Corn Industry


1928 and 1929 marked the graduations of two Boilermakers who would change the corn industry forever.

Orville Redenbacher, 1987. From eArchives PA00354, Purdue University Alumni Collection. Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Orville Redenbacher ran a profitable fertilizer company after graduation in 1928, but his true passion was actually popcorn. He worked on developing the perfect popcorn in his free time and started selling kernels from the trunk of his car. Redenbacher’s popcorn quickly captured consumers’ attention and is now one of America’s best-selling brands.

After graduation in 1929 (and in 1930) from Purdue’s Winter Courses in Agriculture program, Francis Beck experimented with higher-yielding corn varieties on his family’s farm in Atlanta, Indiana. He and his father established Beck’s Hybrids, now the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States.

From seed to consumption, Purdue graduates have influenced virtually ever aspect of corn production and have brought the Midwest to the forefront of an industry that has the power to sustain a quickly growing world population.

 — by Hannah Tucker (Purdue ’18) and Allan Goecker


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