WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University community paid tribute to its late president emeritus, Dr. Steven C. Beering, with a memorial service Friday (Nov. 6).
The service (video stream), held in the Purdue Memorial Union’s South Ballroom on campus, included remarks from Purdue President Mitch Daniels, family members and William Enright, pastor emeritus at Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis. The Purdue Varsity Glee Club provided numerous selections, including a solo by Beering’s grandson and Glee Club member Steven D. Beering, a senior in the College of Engineering.
Beering (read obituary) led the university from 1983-2000. He died on April 3, 2020, at age 87. He is buried at the top of Slayter Hill on campus with his wife, Jane Pickering Beering. She died March 9, 2015 (obituary).
During his time at Purdue, Beering left his mark by expanding its international efforts, growing its liberal arts programs, expanding the West Lafayette campus with numerous buildings and beautification projects, and increasing fundraising.
Beering called on alumni and friends to support the university through numerous building and fundraising campaigns, including having Purdue alumni Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan – the first and most recent people to walk on the moon – co-chair the Vision 21 campaign, which raised $330 million. It was, at the time, the largest campaign for any public university in Indiana. Building projects completed or planned during his time included the Class of 1948 Bell Tower, Class of 1950 Lecture Hall, Pao Hall for the Visual and Performing Arts, the Black Cultural Center, Knoy Hall of Technology, the Materials and Electrical Engineering Building, Schleman Hall of Student Services, Nelson Hall of Food Science, Hillenbrand Hall, Mollenkopf Athletic Center, a $32 million power plant expansion, and major additions to the engineering, veterinary medicine, and athletics complexes. Plans were begun for the expansion of the Krannert School of Management with a new building that would be known as Rawls Hall.
Steven D. Beering, a senior in the College of Engineering and member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club, sings a solo during a memorial service remembering the life of his grandfather, Purdue President Emeritus Dr. Steven C. Beering. (John Underwood/Purdue University)
Before his time at Purdue, Beering served as dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Indiana University Medical Center. He had previously served 12 years in the Air Force, during which time he became an advisor to the U.S. surgeon general in internal medicine and a medical consultant to NASA, where he was a physician to the nation’s first astronauts and to President Dwight Eisenhower. After leaving Purdue, he served on and chaired the National Science Board, an independent body of advisors to both the president and Congress on broad national policy issues related to science and engineering research and education. The Indiana Historical Society named Beering as a Living Legend in 2013 and paid tribute in this video.
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