History of Professional Practice at Purdue


1928: Earliest recorded attempt to establish a formal Cooperative Engineering Education Program. The proposal did not meet with much enthusiasm on the part of the department head at the Board of Trustees meeting. Also, the “catastrophic economic conditions” made the program impossible.

1953: Registrar recommended that the possibility of initiating a program be explored. A committee chaired by Professor G.W. Bergren was created to study the matter.

1954: The first formal Co-Op Program started with the School of Mechanical Engineering with eight students and seven employers.

1955: Civil Engineering joined the Co-Op Program.

1957: Electrical Engineering joined the Co-Op Program.

1959: By April, the program had grown to 50 employers with 161 students. Industrial Engineering joined the Co-Op Program during the summer semester.

1960: Chemical Engineering joined the Co-Op Program.

1964: Aeronautical Engineering joined the Co-Op Program.

1967: Agricultural Engineering joined the Co-Op Program.

1968: Materials Engineering joined the Co-Op Program.

1974: Nuclear Engineering, School of Agriculture, School of Management, and School of Science joined the Co-Op Program.

1975: Interdisciplinary Engineering and School of Technology joined the Co-Op Program.

1977: School of Consumer & Family Sciences joined the Co-Op Program.

1979: Nearly 1,000 students and 400 employers were participating in the Co-Op Program by the 25th anniversary.

1991: School of Education and College of Liberal Arts joined the Co-Op Program.

2013: College of Pharmacy and School of Nursing joined the Co-Op Program.

2014: Psychological Sciences joined the Co-Op Program.

Now: The Office of Professional Practice serves eight colleges and 48 different disciplines. There are more than 1,000 students and 600 employers participating in the Co-Op Program. OPP offers 3-Session Co-Op, 5-Session Co-Op, Master’s Co-Op, a global program (GEARE), internship programs, and research experiences.


Photo caption: The 1979 Co-Op Coordinators. Front Row (from left): Professors Schalliol, Kay, Houze, LaMothe, Eaton. Back Row (from left): Dean Scott, Dean Bergren, Professors Sandgren, Koh, Cargnino, Liljedahl

Purdue University Office of Professional Practice, Potter Engineering Center, Rm 114, 500 Central Dr, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-7430

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