A bronze sculpture of Neil Armstrong was recently unveiled at Indiana’s Purdue University.
The sculpture is in front of the university’s new engineering research and education building, which is named for the first astronaut to walk on the moon.
Artist Chas Fagan, from Charlotte, N.C., created the work. The sculpture of Armstrong, depicted as an undergraduate student in the 1950s, sits on a stone plinth in front of the building. Armstrong earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1955.
“When our students see this sculpture, I hope they’ll believe that they, like Mr. Armstrong, can achieve the unimaginable,” said Purdue President France A. Córdova. “I hope it will inspire them to reach for the stars.”
An elliptical stone arc resembling a spacecraft trajectory is next to the statue. It bears the inscription: “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The arc leads toward lunar footprints, which were molded from an impression made using a moon boot provided by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The 20 boot impressions trail away from the sculpture, running parallel to a walkway and spaced far apart to replicate the bounding gait of an Apollo astronaut.
The new $53.2 million Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering houses the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, School of Materials Engineering, Department of Engineering Education, and several engineering programs, including the Minority Engineering Program, Women in Engineering Program and Engineering Projects in Community Service. The building also includes a zero-gravity lab.
The building’s distinctive winglike roof extensions are part of a design that mimics the appearance of an aircraft to symbolize Purdue’s contributions to flight and the space program. One of the wings, sheathed in metallic panels, hangs over the entrance and the sculpture of Armstrong.