Calling it a “historic, transformational gift,” Purdue University today (January 9) announced a $100 million commitment from Lilly Endowment to support two separate university initiatives, including the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business.
The Lilly gift will be split equally – $50 million each – between the business school and Purdue Computes, a university initiative that integrates computing, physical AI, and semiconductor programming under one umbrella. Combined, the gift is the largest in Purdue’s history.
“In 2023, the board of trustees and the university announced three intersecting initiatives: Purdue University Indianapolis, the Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes. We believe that these initiatives represent the commitment by this public land grant institution to future proof a tech-driven prosperity for our beloved great State of Indiana,” Purdue president Mung Chiang said in a short ceremony on Purdue’s campus.
“The Lilly Endowment is injecting significant momentum and a vote of confidence in what all of us here – faculty, staff, students, and partners – are doing at Purdue University. ”
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation created in 1937 by the founder of Eli Lilly and Company.
SECOND $50 MILLION GIFT FOR B-SCHOOL IN 11 MONTHS
This is the second major gift Purdue’s business school has received since its public reimagining over the last 18 months. In January 2023, it renamed itself and doubled down on its commitments to STEM-infused, data-driven business education.
One month later, in February 2023, The Daniels School announced a $50 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the largest gift in the b-school’s history at the time. The school’s undergraduate business program was renamed the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute to honor that gift.
This latest $50 million gift will go toward construction of a new six-story, 164,000-square-foot building to accommodate growing enrollment and other strategic initiatives at the Daniels School, said Jim Bullard, dean of the Daniels School.
The facility will feature new “future proof” flexible space for adaptable research and teaching labs for financial trading, data visualization, behavioral research and experiential learning. It will be the third facility for the Daniels School, joining the Krannert Building and Jerry S. Rawls Hall. And, it will be the second-largest classroom building on the Purdue campus.
Construction will begin in July and is expected to be completed in April 2027.
“This gift for our new building is crucial as we reimagine the future of business education. With its striking transparent exterior, the new Daniels School building will serve as a centerpiece for the entire Purdue campus. It allows us to implement our goal of providing ‘excellence at scale,’” Bullard said in the announcement.
TWO YEARS OF BIG CHANGES FOR PURDUE BUSINESS
Today’s announcement is just the latest in a series of big moves for Purdue’s business school in the last year and a half.
In August, it welcomed Bullard as its new dean, formerly the longest serving president of a Federal Reserve Bank. In 2014, The Economist ranked Bullard as the seventh most influential economist in the world, on a list that included the likes of Paul Krugman, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Larry Summers
In September 2022, Purdue announced that it was “reimagining its current School of Management” into a new School of Business.” The newly named Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business is the umbrella for both its graduate-level Krannert School of Management and the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute.
And In March, P&Q named The Daniels School one of our undergraduate programs to watch for 2023.
As part of the reimagining, the university publicly announced several big goals: It has vowed to turn The Daniels School into a top 10 business school, double graduate enrollment , significantly increase undergraduate enrollment, and double the size of its facilities. It is also recruiting 50 more tenure-track faculty positions, along with other faculty and fellowship appointments.
In his remarks today, Bullard updated attendees on the school’s enrollment goals. The Daniels School enrolled 3,516 students in fall 2023, up more than 1,100 students from five years ago. It expects to enroll 4,000 undergraduates in fall 2024. At the graduate level, it has developed a new Master of Business and Technology which it expects to gain approval this week.
PURDUE COMPUTES + DANIELS BUSINESS
Though the two $50 million commitments are separate, the Daniels School shares several strategic goals with Purdue Computes. They include:
- Increase Indiana’s talent pipeline by recruiting more top students as well as faculty interested in new research opportunities.
- Stimulate economic development in Indiana through opportunities in emerging industries, deepening collaborations with Indiana employers and encouraging students to find careers with Indiana-based businesses.
- Infuse ethical principles throughout all teaching and research activities, including AI and other advanced technologies.
- Build on Purdue’s reputation and capacities in STEM.
Purdue’s other big initiative, Purdue University in Indianapolis, will house the Daniels School executive education and entrepreneurship programs, and will work with the business school and Purdue Computes to train leaders and entrepreneurs for the new, tech-driven economy.
“Clearly, you can’t talk about semiconductors without talking about supply chain. And you can’t talk about AI and computing without also understanding how it’s going to shape the future of work and the economic landscape. So between these three initiatives, they have a synergy among them,” Chiang told P&Q earlier this summer.
The $50 million gift for the Daniels School not only ties as the largest ever for Purdue’s business programs, it stands among the largest philanthropic gifts to any business school. It’s one of just over 50 gifts of $50 million or more at major business schools over the last three decades.
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