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Department of History

Department Highlights

2014 Fall Classes

Professor Kathryn Brownell op-ed on Nixon's legacy 40 years after his resignation in Reuters.



Doug Hurt

R. Douglas Hurt
Department Head

Welcome to the Department of History at Purdue University. The department is dedicated to excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching as well as historical research. The department’s thirty-three faculty members take pride in fostering close working relationships with students. The academic year began with 61 graduate students, approximately 200 undergraduate majors, and 155 undergraduate minors who help make the Department of History a vibrant intellectual community. The department has earned campus-wide recognition for excellent teaching. Departmental faculty consistently win major research awards and grants, hold offices in professional organizations, and serve on editorial boards at home and abroad as well as publish articles in major journals and author critically acclaimed books. 

The department offers faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students exchange opportunities with Peking University in Beijing, Central European University in Budapest, and Sabanci University in Istanbul. The Honors Program provides many opportunities for students to exel in their undergraduate careers. Please see our website for more information about our undergraduate and graduate programs. You will find that departmental events throughout the year include: lectures, colloquia, forums, receptions, and banquets. We are grateful to the alumni and friends of the department who take part in our functions as guests and as presenters. The public is extended an open invitation to attend our programs. Keep up to date with our functions by viewing the Calendar. Please feel free to contact the department with any questions at

We have an exciting year ahead during which time the department will build on its achievements from previous years as well as plan for the future. Visit our website often!

See all 2012-2013 Department Highlights

September 11, 2013

$6 million to fund 2 professorships in history of medicine, science

Douglas Hurt, Mitch Daniels
Douglas Hurt, head of Purdue's history department, with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who announced a gift for two endowed chairs in the history of science and the history of medicine. (Purdue University photo/Steven Yang)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will add professorships in the history of science and the history of medicine, increasing the number of endowed chairs in the Department of History from one to three, thanks to a gift.

The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, are giving $3 million to fund the professorships. That will be matched by $3 million in discretionary funds authorized by Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

"These new professorships are strategic investments that highlight the central role the liberal arts play in building a well-rounded curriculum at a school as strong as Purdue in science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM disciplines," Daniels said. "These positions will help develop young scientists, engineers and health-care professionals who have a broad-based education and are prepared to make a difference in the world, while it will give liberal arts students a broad and deep foundation in the history of science and medicine."

The new professorships will be combined with history of technology courses already taught in the College of Liberal Arts' Department of History.

"This gift, the largest ever for the Department of History at Purdue, will transform the department, allowing us to create a niche specialty in the history of science, medicine and technology that will build our national reputation and prestige in the discipline," said department head Douglas Hurt.

"With the endowed professorships and the new program, the College of Liberal Arts will be able to explore more fully how advances in these disciplines succeed, fail and impact lives."

Hurt said the new program will be interdisciplinary, drawing students from throughout campus.

"Complementing Purdue's colleges of Health and Human Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, and Technology, especially, courses in the history of science and medicine will make a major contribution to the core curriculum," he said.

"Beyond that, this new program will allow us to attract excellent graduate students nationally who will be drawn to both the research and teaching components."

The new professors also will work with faculty in health and human sciences, engineering, veterinary medicine, Discovery Park and in the Liberal Arts departments of Sociology, Philosophy, Political Science and Anthropology.

Hurt said a nationwide search for the new professors will begin this fall.

"This generous and transformative gift will enable us to find the best minds, scholars who will pursue interdisciplinary and transnational research and new teaching initiatives and opportunities," he said. "Our teaching and research in the history of science and medicine will provide a framework in which discoveries in these disciplines can be best envisioned, understood and implemented for the benefit of individuals and society and help improve the quality of life and the impact of discovery.",-science.html