Hillenbrand Hall History

Hillenbrand Hall opened in 1993 and was named for a father and son who each served as a member of the Board of Trustees. John Hillenbrand served on Purdue's Board of Trustees from 1913 to 1947. His 34 years of service as a trustee is the longest in University history. His son, William A. Hillenbrand was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1967. He served as a member until 1975. John and William Hillenbrand were both lifelong residents of Batesville, Indiana, where they ran a family business and participated in numerous community activities.

In 1974, William provided funds to create a biomedical engineering center at Purdue, though he insisted that his name not be revealed until his term as trustee was completed. In 1985, the center was named in his honor. Purdue's William A. Hillenbrand Biomedical Engineering Center is now internationally recognized for its achievement in applying engineering expertise to improve the practice of medicine. Successful developments over the years include a new type of cardiac pacemaker, and a unique device to restart the heart, called the implantable defibrillator, as well as innovative approaches to cancer research.