Purdue students gather to honor Neil Armstrong

Bob Donaldson

10:01 PM CDT, August 27, 2012



He was an American hero but also a proud Purdue University alumnus.  Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday at the age of 82.

Monday, a memorial service at Purdue showed just how deep his legacy still runs on the campus.

“It's an incredible story of a man who was from a small farm house in Wapakoneta, Ohio, went to Purdue and went all the way to the moon,” said John Norberg.

Purdue remembered perhaps its more famous alum as not only a man of great accomplishment but also of great humility.

"Neil Armstrong more than anyone in memory gave us an unforgettable memory of what can be," said Leah Jamison, Dean of Engineering.

Armstrong's career after his education took him out of this world.

The first steps in the astronaut’s journey to the moon were taken on Purdue’s campus as a young engineering student in 1955. It’s something not lost on those who honored him here.

"And yet, we look up and we realize, the same man who walked these sidewalks and hallways, walked on the moon,” said one student.  

That legacy explains why flowers and messages adorned the statue that's placed in front of the building that bears Armstrong’s name at Purdue Monday. He still motivates engineering students all these years later.

"When I start to get stuck on something and I want to move on, I’m like you know, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, if he did that, I can do this homework,” said Trevor Long, student.  

No one at Purdue or anywhere else can match Armstrong’s accomplishments but everyone on campus said they can learn from his example.

"He made a profound commitment not only to himself, not only to America, but to humankind," said Sands.