Football Legend Leroy Keyes’ Wife, Monica, on Earning Her Master’s Degree at Purdue, Raising Their Family in the Boilermaker Community and Her Husband’s Legacy
This Is Purdue
- 22 views
- 24 days ago
In this episode of “This Is Purdue,” we’re talking to Monica Keyes, wife of the late Purdue icon and former Boilermaker football player and coach Leroy Keyes. Turns out, the couple met in a church bowling league in Philadelphia, Monica’s hometown, when Leroy was an NFL player for the Eagles. Week after week they happened to keep showing up in the same-colored shirts. “I was learning how to bowl … and he and I began to have little wagers,” Monica reflects. “You know, ‘I’ll bet you a Coke.’ And that’s how our relationship grew.” Monica’s introduction to Purdue came from a sweatshirt Leroy was wearing one day. “I’m like, ‘Purdue, what is that? Is it an Ivy League school?’” Soon enough she would get to experience the Purdue community for herself. Leroy, who was a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate, took a job as a running backs coach with Purdue in 1995 under then-head football coach Jim Colletto. At the time, Monica wouldn’t have guessed it. But soon enough, Purdue started to feel like home. By the early 2000s, Monica became a Boilermaker herself as she enrolled in a nurse practitioner master's program at Purdue. Tune in to hear Monica share what it was like relocating to the Midwest, raising kids in the Boilermaker community and how Leroy’s legacy lives on.
‘Piano Man’ Bruce Barker on His Purdue Experience, Playing in Front of Millions and Retirement
This Is Purdue
- 15 views
- about 1 month ago
In this episode of “This Is Purdue,” we’re talking to Purdue’s “Piano Man,” Bruce Barker. Despite growing up in Lafayette, Bruce didn’t see himself attending Purdue. He wasn’t the best student while in school, and he didn’t peg himself as someone who would succeed in college. But after high school, he struggled to find meaningful work without a college degree. On a whim, he applied to Purdue. Pretty soon, Bruce was auditioning for the Varsity Glee Club, teaching himself to play piano and reinventing himself as the person we’ve come to know and love for decades — Purdue’s “Piano Man.” In Bruce’s nearly three decades on the stage, he has become a beloved fixture in the Boilermaker community, attracting thousands to his weekly shows and even inspiring alumni to return from as far away as Georgia, Colorado, Florida and Texas. Tune in to discover how Bruce got his job at the Neon Cactus, his favorite memories from performing in front of millions, the story of the night he met his wife during a performance, what it meant to give back to Purdue during the pandemic — and why he’s decided to hang up the mic at the end of the 2023 fall semester.