Neil Armstrong Statue
This bronze statue, an 8-foot-tall, 125% scale likeness of astronaut and alumnus Neil Armstrong (BSAE 1955) recreates the image of a clean-cut college student wearing a windbreaker, button-down Oxford shirt, cuffed khaki pants and penny loafers. His right hand rests on a small stack of books, and his slide rule is removed from its case, as though ready for action.
An elliptical stone arc resembling a spacecraft trajectory is embedded flush with the ground in Kirk Plaza next to the statue. An inscription in the arc memorializes Armstrong’s words as the first human being to walk on the moon: “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The arc leads toward the 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 and irregularly to replicate the bounding gait of an Apollo astronaut.
The statue was commissioned by one of Armstrong’s longtime friends, Bob Kirk (BSME ’52, HDR ’93), and it was unveiled in 2007.
Did you know? The slide rule in the sculpture is an exact replica of the model Armstrong used while a student at Purdue, a model N4-ES, vector-type LOG LOG, made by Pickett Inc.
Did you know? Perhaps the most popular destination for photo opportunities on campus, the statue was a poignant place to mark both the day of Armstrong’s death on Aug. 25, 2012, and also the 50th anniversary of his historic Apollo 11 moon walk, celebrated in grand style on July 20, 2019.