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Profiles in Badassery: Gene Cernan Passes

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Both of Purdue’s moonwalkers have now passed away.

AARP's 15th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards - Inside Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

Sad news for the extended Purdue family today, as Gene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon (to date) has passed away:

We have profiled Gene here earlier in our mostly off again series “Profiles in Badassery”, but before he became one of only 12 men that have set foot on the moon he was a Boilermaker. he graduated from Purdue in 1956 with a degree in electrical Engineering.

Since then he has become a face of the University. he regularly returned to Purdue to promote the school of engineering and he has even appeared in local PEFCU commercials with the famous phrase, “I’ve traveled all over the world... and beyond!”

If there is one thing that Gene was always adamant about, it is that he was saddened he was the last man on the moon. here is what he said as commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972 as he prepared to leave the moon:

Bob, this is Gene, and I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record: that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.

Mr. Cernan was an excellent ambassador for Purdue University and always tried to encourage students to reach past their limits. he wanted to see more Purdue students succeed just as he did.

Godspeed, Mr. Cernan, and thank you.