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$50 million gift from White family to Purdue University is followed by $100 million new gift from Lilly Endowment
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$50 million gift from White family to Purdue University is followed by $100 million new gift from Lilly Endowment

The Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation has committed $50 million to Purdue University to help launch the university’s reimagined School of Business and name its undergraduate institute, which will be named the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute. This commitment represents the lead gift to establish the school and the largest monetary contribution ever made to Purdue’s School of Management/Business.

The Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation has committed $50 million to Purdue University to name the undergraduate institute in the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business.

This commitment represents the lead gift to establish the school and the largest monetary contribution ever made to Purdue’s School of Management/Business. The initiative to relaunch the School of Business, which began while Daniels was university president, will continue to be championed by new President Mung Chiang and the Board of Trustees.

“The White Family Foundation has long been a truly dedicated partner in helping Purdue achieve excellence at scale. The naming after Bruce White, one of the most prominent Boilermakers our university has ever known, is particularly meaningful to us,” Chiang said. “This gift ensures Purdue will educate exceptional undergraduate business students who will create and grow competitive businesses in a technology-driven, free-market economy.”

Purdue’s next big move in a decadelong series of major strategic investments, the new school will build on the rich heritage and historic strengths of the School of Management and Krannert Graduate School. This gift will help restructure and scale innovative degrees and provide transformational education experiences for undergraduate students.

The Bruce White Undergraduate Institute will serve as a flagship element of the Daniels School of Business. The Krannert name will be retained for the Krannert Graduate Institute. The new names of both institutes are subject to approval by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees in the coming days.

“Purdue is recognized as a dynamic national leader in higher education, where it has redefined the meaning of value. As such, Purdue is seen as a strategic partner of our foundation,” said Bill Hanna, executive director of the White Family Foundation. “Bruce was an instrumental part of Purdue’s progress over the last decade and more, working closely with senior university leadership as both a trustee and a dedicated alum. He represents a true north that students can look to as a model, and the White Family Foundation is proud to support the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute.”

To create a revised curriculum that equips graduates to lead at the intersection of business and technology, the Daniels School will identify the best aspects of its top existing programs and build on the success of new degree pilots launched between fall 2021 and fall 2022.

These pilot programs include the integrated business and engineering (IBE) and business analytics programs. IBE launched with twice the number of expected students, and the new school’s goal is to grow the number of IBE and business analytics degree students to 1,600 — a full 40% of its undergraduate population.

Another successful new program, for a real estate finance minor, is, in fact, part of an earlier transformational commitment from the White Family Foundation. That gift, a $20.8 million commitment announced in April 2022, launched the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance program — and initiated conversations to reinvent the School of Management as a School of Business.

“The White Family Foundation’s commitment to an increasingly prominent Purdue inspired us to imagine a business school that addresses the need to reshape business education and produce technology-based graduates who build and lead successful companies,” Daniels said. “Their gifts provide tremendous momentum to realize our goals.”

Additional goals for the Daniels School include:

Increasing enrollment to 4,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students by 2028.

Growing tenure-track and clinical faculty significantly this decade.

Adding additional square footage to current business facilities to accommodate program growth, with 2027 as the target move-in date.

Alumni and friends of Purdue have rallied to support the Daniels School of Business, committing more than $127 million so far to increase the school’s capacity for excellence at scale. The Board of Trustees has committed funds for the initiative, as well. An initial investment of $300 million will jump-start growth and establish Purdue’s program as the standard for an affordable, technology-focused, pro-business business education.

“The transformation of our business school is a huge part of our future as a university, and this gift is a testament to the legacies of Bruce White, the White family and Purdue,” said Mike Berghoff, chairman of the Purdue Board of Trustees. “We have always taken pride in how much we invest in our undergraduate students. This commitment reinforces our mission.”

The White family has been a prominent contributor to Purdue over the past three decades, including a combined gift of $30 million that helped transform the Union Club Hotel. The hotel serves as both the university’s boutique on-campus lodging option and a learning laboratory for students studying hospitality at Purdue.

“My brother Bruce was a phenomenal human being,” said Craig White, president of the board of trustees at the White Family Foundation. “His success in business was tremendous, but his success as a person and a leader is even more impressive — he put his heart and soul into every aspect of his life, and he has inspired countless others to do the same. Naming the undergraduate program after him couldn’t be more natural.”

Earlier, Franciscan Health Foundation Chairwoman Sister Jane Marie Klein announced the largest-ever gift received by the organization, a $30 million donation, also from The Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation.

This week, Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved grants totaling $100 million to Purdue Research Foundation to support two major Purdue University initiatives, which together will elevate the university, its students and faculty and accelerate new investments in Indiana’s workforce and economy.

Funding includes $50 million each to support the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business and Purdue Computes, both of which were identified last year by Purdue as top strategic initiatives for the university. Together, these commitments represent the largest gift in the university’s history.

“These transformational grants from Lilly Endowment are historic in both magnitude and vision. Combined, the grants represent the largest gift in university history, injecting crucial momentum to the two intersecting initiatives: the Daniels School of Business and Purdue Computes. Together with Purdue University in Indianapolis — our first comprehensive urban campus, which opens this July — these strategic initiatives will further elevate Purdue’s excellence at scale for Indiana’s job creation, workforce brain gain and tech-driven prosperity,” Purdue President Mung Chiang said. “We are truly grateful for the tremendous support from Lilly Endowment.”

“These new initiatives hold great promise to strategically build connections between business education and the powerful technologies in computing, semiconductors and physical AI and thereby prepare Purdue students for effective leadership in business and other pursuits in a future of rapid technological change,” said N. Clay Robbins, chairman and CEO of Lilly Endowment. “Given Purdue’s existing strengths in these areas and its scale of impact, along with its commitment to infusing ethical principles throughout its educational programs, Lilly Endowment is most pleased to provide this support.”

Demand for a Purdue business education has never been higher. The new and reimagined Daniels School of Business — designed to deliver a STEM-infused, data-driven education to prepare tomorrow’s business leaders and entrepreneurs — enrolled 3,516 students in fall 2023, up more than 1,100 students from five years ago. Applications continue to increase and are up 40% over that same time span.

Lilly Endowment funding for the Daniels School, which was unveiled as Purdue’s next big move in February 2023, will support construction of an approximately 164,000-square-foot building. This new building, which will be connected to the Krannert Building immediately to its east, will give the Daniels School three facilities, joining the Krannert Building and Jerry S. Rawls Hall. All will be connected, both above and below ground.

Construction, which was approved by the Purdue Board of Trustees in December 2023, is scheduled to begin in July 2024 and be completed in April 2027. The new facility will be the second-largest classroom building on Purdue’s campus, behind only the Wilmeth Active Learning Center.

“We are thrilled to hear about Lilly Endowment’s contribution to the construction of our new building, which will immediately become a campus centerpiece,” said Jim Bullard, who was appointed as the Daniels School’s inaugural Dr. Samuel R. Allen Dean in July 2023. “This truly represents our next giant leap. We aim to prepare a new generation of business students to tackle the technology-driven challenges of today and tomorrow, and this new building will serve as a representation of our commitment and a beacon for future business leaders.”

This commitment from Lilly Endowment follows a $50 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, announced in 2023, which represented the lead gift in the school’s founding and established the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute.

Purdue Computes, a bold initiative that focuses on computing departments, physical artificial intelligence (AI), semiconductors and quantum, will use Lilly Endowment funds to continue its mission to connect faculty and students from across the university and enable it to further advance to the forefront of these sectors and their diverse applications. Initiatives will include:

$20 million for the Birck Nanotechnology Center, which houses the state-of-the-art Scifres Nanofabrication Laboratory, one of the largest and most advanced university cleanrooms in the world. Renovations will include:

Dedicated training bay for students.

Updated cleanroom and laboratory space for advanced microelectronics packaging.

Enhanced capabilities for quantum research.

$20 million to launch the Institute for Physical Artificial Intelligence. With a founding director and interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellows, the institute members will develop innovations that will bring together the bytes of AI and the atoms of “what we grow, what we make and what we move” and further integrate physical AI into Indiana’s core economic sectors.

$10 million to increase brain gain in Indiana, with enhanced workforce development efforts in the areas of semiconductors and physical AI. Purdue Computes will expand programs for precollege, college and working professional students that provide on-ramps to careers in semiconductors and a variety of industries, from digital agriculture and advanced manufacturing to digital health and autonomous transportation that utilize AI.

“With Purdue Computes, the university is building on its legacy of leadership in computing and microelectronics to trailblaze technologies that will shape the future, and this gift from Lilly Endowment will make a big difference in helping us achieve our goals,” said Karen Plaut, Purdue executive vice president for research. “This support is essential to realizing the power of AI and computing in transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and life and health sciences and creating the workforce for the future that benefits Purdue students, our state and our nation.”

The grants, while given separately and for distinct purposes, will operate together to elevate the university and leverage new investments in Indiana’s economy because the Daniels School and Purdue Computes share the following goals that connect them strategically:

Increasing and improving Indiana’s talent pipeline by recruiting more top students, as well as faculty interested in new research opportunities.

Positioning the university to stimulate economic development and prosperity in Indiana by helping the state take full advantage of opportunities in emerging industries, deepening collaborations with Indiana employers and encouraging students to find careers with Indiana-based businesses.

Infusing ethical principles throughout all teaching and research activities, remaining mindful of the critical importance of ethics in the ever-evolving world of AI and other advanced technologies.

Building on Purdue’s reputation and capacities in key disciplines, especially STEM, where mutually beneficial cross-disciplinary research and teaching opportunities are expected to grow.

“Students joining the workforce must comprehend new technologies, but they must also be familiar with important business concepts such as organizational change, the impacts of change management, workforce transitions and industrial disruption and creation,” said Patrick J. Wolfe, Purdue provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “The Daniels School and Purdue Computes initiatives will collaborate to prepare students who understand how business and technology converge, including in the areas of AI and other advanced technologies, so that they can bring this expertise to their corporate careers. This strong bilateral connection between business and STEM education aims to be the first of its kind in the nation.”

Matt Folk, president and CEO of the Purdue for Life Foundation and vice president for university advancement and alumni engagement at Purdue, said, “The generosity Lilly Endowment has shown to Purdue, both with these gifts and in the past, is amazing, and we are forever grateful. Contributions like this really move the needle for the university and its ambitious mission, but every gift matters — at Purdue, the small steps and giant leaps go hand in hand.”

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. Although the Endowment funds programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Also, in 2021, Purdue renamed its hospitality and tourism school the White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in honor of the company’s ongoing support and partnership.

“Bruce was a wonderful husband, father and friend,” Beth White said. “He was successful in his personal and business life because he was himself in all settings. Integrity was not just a word to Bruce; it was foundational. His values were matched by a tremendous drive to constantly improve in all aspects of life, to never accept the status quo and to have the courage to ask the tough questions — even of himself. When a leader like that shows up, things become dynamic. Everyone is inspired to give their best, and a journey toward excellence begins. Our family is very honored and pleased to know that the values and qualities Bruce lived by will be instilled and replicated in future generations of leaders who get their start at the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute.”


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