$50 million gift to Purdue U. for the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute
The West Lafayette based Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation has committed $50 million to Purdue University to name the Bruce White 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 institute will be named the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute. White was founder and chairman of White Lodging, a former member of the Purdue Board of Trustees, and a longtime university benefactor.
“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.”
As 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 as a leader is even more impressive — he put his heart and soul into every aspect of his life, and he has inspired countless other people to do the same. Naming the undergraduate program after him couldn’t be more natural.”
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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