Purdue University Fort Wayne is located in Indiana’s second-largest city and offers a traditional campus experience within a thriving metropolitan setting. As part of the venerable Purdue University system, students earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from one of the most trusted and prestigious brands in higher education.
With more than 8,000 students and over 300 full-time faculty members, Purdue Fort Wayne is perfectly sized to offer small classes and individualized attention, yet large enough to have all the attributes of a major research university. Students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty to tackle real-world challenges through groundbreaking research, to create exciting new scholarship, and to explore new facets of creative expression.
For more than 50 years, Purdue Fort Wayne has drawn Mastodons from near and far. Our students value the prestigious Purdue name and degree, and they experience the affordability and vibrance of Indiana’s second-largest city, Fort Wayne. We offer a traditional campus experience with perfectly sized classes that allow for individualized attention to help our students thrive. Students also have the opportunity to work alongside faculty to tackle real-world challenges through groundbreaking research and to explore new facets of creative expression.
Purdue Fort Wayne is the only university in the country with a mastodon as a mascot. It’s a distinction that we are proud of, and it represents our unique story.
Mastodons roamed the southern Great Lakes region of North America more than 10,000 years ago. But it was in 1968—four years after the university was founded—that Jack Sunderman, chair of the Department of Geology, identified a leg bone of a mastodon found just south of Angola, Indiana. Sunderman and his team of faculty and students subsequently unearthed the entire mastodon skeleton—along with the skull of a baby mastodon.
Later that year, Steve Pettyjohn, who served as the student body president in
1968–69, wrote a letter to the Communicator, the university newspaper, extolling the virtues of choosing the mastodon as the mascot: “It sounds different, strange. That’s exactly why [we should choose it]. I’m tired of slavishly copying what Bloomington, West Lafayette, and other big schools do. Let’s have the courage to be a little different.”
The following year, a student government committee selected the Mastodon as the university mascot. Don lives on as a fierce representative of Purdue Fort Wayne!