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Purdue Center for Economic Education

Our History Timeline


The Joint Council on Economic Education is founded, the predecessor to the Council for Economic Education (CEE).  The CEE is the leading organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school.  The network of councils and centers working with the CEE is the only economic education group affiliated with the American Economic Association (AEA).


The Indiana Council for Economic Education (ICEE) is formed in Continuing Education, with Professor Olin Davis acting as the first director.


The Purdue Economic Education Advisory Board is established in Continuing Education and begins offering teacher workshops in the summer of 1954.


Lawrence Senesh is hired by Purdue Economics to serve as the first professor of economic education in the nation.

Larry Senesh


The School of Industrial Management is formed from the Department of Economics in the School of Science, Education, and Humanities and the Department of Industrial Management and Transportation in the Schools of Engineering.


The Krannert Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Purdue's first named school, is established with a $2.73 million endowment from Herman C. and Ellnora Decker Krannert.


Robert Horton, a retired partner from Goldman Sachs, is hired by Purdue University to work in the area of economic education, drawing an annual salary of $1.

Robert Horton


PCEE is formed as one of the earliest centers for economic education in the nation, with Dennis Weidenaar named as director.  Weidenaar focuses on national efforts by offering training programs on economic education for social studies education professors, employee education programs, some of the first training programs on using microcomputers to teach economics, and other national initiatives.

Dennis Weidenaar


Robert Horton leads a National Sciences Foundation-sponsored program for junior college teachers, a year after being awarded emeritus rank by Purdue University.

Pete Harrington, a Krannert professor, becomes the director of the Indiana Council (ICEE) and establishes centers at other universities and colleges across the state of Indiana.


The Robert V. Horton-Goldman Sachs Endowment is established for K-12 economic education efforts, with funds provided by many of his former colleagues after his death.


Mike Watts is hired to Purdue's Economics faculty and becomes the associate director of the Indiana Council (ICEE).

Mike Watts


Purdue names Mike Watts as the new PCEE director.  During Watts’ tenure, he oversees a significant expansion of nationally recognized research activity as well as the introduction of several outreach programs to local teachers in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties.  These two areas of emphasis are reflected in the PCEE constitution formed the following year.


Dr. Ronald Franks, Dean of the Krannert School, signs the PCEE constitution which states the center’s mission to “maintain and enhance Purdue University’s national leadership position in the field of economic education and to directly offer services to school systems in Tippecanoe and contiguous counties …”


A gift, and eventual endowment, is provided for work in economic education in memory of Helen Horton, wife of Robert Horton.


Dennis Weidenaar, the previous PCEE director, becomes the fifth dean of the Krannert School.


Phil VanFossen, a professor of education, becomes the associate director of PCEE.  During his tenure, VanFossen greatly expands Purdue’s “preservice” courses in economic education and contributes along with Watts to the increase in research and publication activity.

Phil VanFossen


An endowment is established in Lawrence Senesh’s name, to be divided between the Purdue Center and the Indiana Council, for economic education activities.


The PCEE receives state recognition as the recipient of the Peter V. Harrington Award for Center Excellence.

The Department of Economics and the Purdue Center are saddened by the unexpected passing of Mike Watts in December.


Having served as the Indiana Council director from 1997 – 2011, Harlan Day graciously offers to manage the centers outreach programs on an interim basis and thus becomes the third director of PCEE until a new director, David Perkis, is hired in 2016.

Harlan Day


Mayflower Mill Elementary School teacher, and PCEE Teacher Advocate, Gina Boyd, is awarded the national John Morton Excellence in Teaching of Economics Award, Elementary Level, for 2016.

Gina Boyd

2016 – 2017

The Purdue Center for Economic Education (PCEE) celebrates 50 years in Krannert as a nationally acclaimed center.