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The Boilermaker Special passes through the Gateway to the Future arch on the campus of Purdue University

Holding Memories

New book shares stories, photos of campus history

There are stories behind every picture in a family photo album. Sometimes they melt your heart, and other times they break it. Sometimes there are inspirational stories of success and struggle; other times there are stories that make tears from laughter roll down your cheeks!

A new book honoring the history of Purdue University’s fraternities, sororities, and cooperatives is just like that—and filled with pictures of the family that you chose.

Pledge and Promise: Celebrating the Bond and Heritage of Fraternity, Sorority, and Cooperative Life at Purdue University, written by Angie Klink (LA’81), tells fascinating stories of how these organizations have evolved since 1875 while always holding true to their core values. With more than 250 photos, this pictorial also highlights people who have contributed to and benefited from these student groups.

The work behind Pledge and Promise began in September 2016 with a meeting between Klink; Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students; and Brandon Cutler, associate dean of students and director of Fraternity, Sorority and Cooperative Life.

Klink is the author of three books published by Purdue University Press, including The Deans’ Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality.

“Angie was the obvious choice to author the book,” Sermersheim says. “Even though we didn’t yet have a clear understanding of the work and process that a project like this would require, we believed in the story and in Angie’s ability to tell it.”  

Sermersheim and Cutler shared their goal for the book with Klink: to highlight the rich and lengthy history of Purdue’s fraternity, sorority, and cooperative community, share its successes and setbacks, and document the impact these organizations have made on Purdue—from the framework of providing housing to students to their remarkable Boilermaker pride.

Klink spent the next few years reviewing archival documents, conducting interviews with alumni and community stakeholders, and locating historic photos that would help tell the story of fraternity, sorority, and cooperative life at Purdue. The finished product is a reminder for Boilermakers of the good times that were had and the lasting friendships that were made throughout their formative years.

“I am honored and excited to share the research and interviews that led me to write many extraordinary and never-before-told stories of fraternity, sorority, and cooperative life at Purdue,” Klink says. “A special thanks goes to Dean Katie Sermersheim and Associate Dean Brandon Cutler for their vision, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections for assistance in gathering source documents and engaging photos, and Purdue University Press for guiding the publishing process and creating a beautifully designed book Boilermakers will enjoy for decades to come.”  

You can purchase your copy of Pledge and Promise today! Proceeds from the sale will benefit the general department fund for Fraternity, Sorority, and Cooperative Life.