Podcast Episode 94 – Bruce Barker


This Is Purdue, the official podcast for Purdue University, highlights stories about Boilermakers from across all disciplines, who through research, innovation and determination, have persistently pursued their next giant leap. 

Hosted by Purdue University alum, Brian Lamb School of Communication graduate, and Indiana native Kate Young, “This Is Purdue” aims to examine all of the incredible accomplishments of Boilermakers and their contributions to the world. 

Below, you’ll find helpful information, stories, and social media content regarding this episode of This Is Purdue. 


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. 


·       Links to the podcast 

·       Social graphics 

·       Suggested social post copy 


When linking to Purdue websites from social platforms or emails, we recommend that you add UTM parameters to the URL in order to provide reporting on the activity. The Marketing and Communications campaign URL builder allows you to easily configure these links and even request shortened Purdue-branded links. 

UTM campaign: this_is_purdue_bruce_barker 

UTM medium: Social (or email) 

UTM source: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram (or email newsletter name) 

Link to the podcast: https://stories.purdue.edu/podcast/bruce-barker  

General podcast page: https://stories.purdue.edu/podcast/ 

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-purdue/id1496040232 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1npQBIaTzFnCvDlzeiNV7j?si=h0K1NkdwTMeu-MlzckGaHw 


The following assets are available for download and use. Social assets include files for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Instagram Stories. 


Digital engagement is a powerful platform to share Purdue stories and posts with past, present and future Boilermakers. Here are some tips to help your posts shine: 

·       Keep posts short and direct 

·       Link all posts back to our landing page 

·       Include photos, videos or GIFs 

·       Use short URLs 


LinkedIn + Facebook  

  1. #Boilermakers everywhere love @PianoManBruce. 🎹  Ever wonder what his most requested songs are? His favorites? His LEAST favorite?  And what about his choreography? (“Country Roads,” anyone?! 🎶) His most memorable shows and evenings at the @neoncactuswestlafayette? Tune in to the latest episode of #ThisIsPurdue to find out all of this and more! <link> 
  1. “I’m a Boilermaker. I bleed gold and black. I really can’t say thank you enough for accepting me and giving me the best job ever as an alum.” Attending #Purdue wasn’t always a sure thing for @PianoManBruce. As he says goodbye after nearly 30 years of weekly shows at the @neoncactuswestlafayette, listen to #ThisIsPurdue as we go behind the scenes and find out how he discovered his calling and what the #Boilermaker community means to him. 🎹🖤💛  <link> 
  1. “There’s a thousand people on a Thursday [at the Neon Cactus] planning their night around me. What an amazing gift and blessing.” When @PianoManBruce sits down behind the keys at the @neoncactuswestlafayette, he’s got one thing in mind: giving the audience an unforgettable experience. And he does just that. No wonder #Boilermaker alumni fly in from across the country just for a chance to hear him play! Join host Kate Young for a very special episode of #ThisIsPurdue as we look back on Bruce’s time as Purdue’s “Piano Man.” <link> 

Twitter + Instagram 

  1. #Boilermakers everywhere love @PianoManBruce. 🎹 Ever wonder what his most requested songs are? His favorites? His LEAST favorite? Tune in to the latest episode of #ThisIsPurdue to find out! <link> 
  1. “I’m a #Boilermaker. I bleed gold and black. I can’t say thank you enough for accepting me and giving me the best job ever.” After nearly 30 years at @NeonCactusPU, @PianoManBruce is retiring. Tune in to the latest episode of #ThisIsPurdue to take a look back at his career. <link> 
  1. “There’s a thousand people on a Thursday planning their night around me. What an amazing gift.” For nearly 30 years, @PianoManBruce has been a staple at @NeonCactusPU, keeping people coming back again & again & again. Join #ThisIsPurdue as we reflect on this #Boilermaker’s career. <link> 


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Other tagging options include: 


@NeonCactusPU (TW) 

@neoncactuswestlafayette (FB/IG) 





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