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Former Purdue president Steven Beering dies at age 87

Purdue University President Steven C. Beering (right) with President Ronald Reagan (center) during Reagan’s visit to Purdue. (Purdue University photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Former Purdue University president Steven Beering has died, the university said in a news release Monday night.

Purdue president from 1983 to 2000, Beering was 87. A university spokesperson, asked when and where Beering died, said by email, “This is all the information we have.”

The release said Beering expanded Purdue’s international efforts, grew its liberal arts programs, promoted diversity, greened and beautified the campus, added 20 major buildings, and took fundraising to new levels.

Beering came to Purdue after serving as dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Indiana University Medical Center. Before that he had served 12 years in the Air Force, during which time he became an adviser 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 advisers 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.

Beering was born Aug. 20, 1932, in BerlinGermany. His wife, Jane, died March 9, 2015, in Carmel.

“The terrible tyranny that brought about World War II bestowed an unintended blessing on Indiana, Purdue University, and America when it sent the family of a young Steve Beering to our country,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels in the release. “His 18-year leadership of our institution was but one chapter in an epic life of serial achievement. He and Jane will rest together on our campus’s Slayter Hill, and forever in our memories and in the annals of the greatest Boilermakers.”

Beering is survived by his sons Peter (wife Shokrina) of Carmel; David, (wife Donna) of West Lafayette; and John (wife Heather BS) of Chesterfield, Missouri; and five grandchildren, Amanda, Heidi, Steven, Andrew and Catherine. His brother John G. Beering also preceded him in death.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be immediate services. A celebration of life is planned for the future when conditions allow.

Memorial contributions for the Beering Scholars program can be mailed to the Purdue Foundation, 403 W. Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2007. Checks should be made payable to the Purdue Foundation, and the memo line should read “Beering Scholars in memory of Steve Beering.” Contributions also may be made online at