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Tyler Trent’s impact on Purdue University

Photo courtesy of Purdue Athletics

Monday, January 14, 2019

Pictured above: Photo courtesy of Purdue Athletics

In recent months we have all been able to see how Tyler Trent changed the world. Tyler showed the world how even in our darkest moments, we can find some light. The news outlets have published many stories about Tyler and how he inspired a nation, but what they don’t report on is Tyler’s impact on Purdue University. Stories recount how Tyler was a superfan of Purdue, but in reality, Tyler was so much more than that. Tyler impacted our school in ways that very few students have had the ability to do.

He showed us how to smile when things get tough. I had a class with him last spring, when he was battling cancer for the third time, and every day he would come into class smiling. It was a 9 a.m. class, so most of us were sleep deprived and tired, but Tyler was there with a smile on his face talking about the most recent Purdue sporting event.

He showed us the impact a college organization can have. Tyler’s involvement with Purdue University Dance Marathon inspired many to come out to the event making it the largest club on campus. PUDM raised over a million dollars the past two years for Riley Children’s Hospital and has made a dramatic impact on the community.

He showed us what the Purdue family truly is. In the past few months, the Purdue community has come together and supported the Trent family every step of the way. Especially that historic night where we beat Ohio State, then ranked second in the nation, when we were unranked. Our football team didn’t win that game because we were ranked number one in the Big Ten, Purdue won that game for Tyler because a family fights for each other. He inspired an entire football team to pull off one of the largest upsets in college football this year.

He showed us what it truly meant to be a Boilermaker. The strength and tenacity he showed his entire life is something every Boilermaker strives to show. He pushed through the tough times and celebrated life to the fullest. A quote frequently used to describe the Boilermaker spirit: “To fight every battle with unwavering conviction until there are no more battles left to fight, that’s what it means to be a Boilermaker.” Tyler brought this fighting spirit to life.

Although Tyler died from cancer on January 1, he will continue to inspire us for years to come, and the legacy he left at Purdue will never die. Boiler Up, Hammer Down, Thank you, Tyler.


Jessie Searles is a sophomore majoring in Supply Chain, Information and Analytics at Purdue University. She is actively involved with Sigma Kappa sorority and is a tour guide here at Purdue.


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