After announcing a $100 million fundraising drive in its launch of its reimagined business school, Purdue University’s business school has secured a huge head start: A $50 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation.
The gift is the largest in the business school’s history, and will cement a name for Purdue’s undergraduate business program: Bruce White Undergraduate Institute.
Earlier this month, Purdue announced that it was naming its relaunched business school The Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business after former Purdue president Mitch Daniels who retired in December. The Daniels School will retain the Krannert name for its graduate programs.
Bruce White was a Purdue alumni, founder and chairman of White Lodging, and a former member of the Purdue Board of Trustees. He died on January 19.
“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,” Purdue President Mung Chiang says in a release. “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 EXCELLENCE AT SCALE
Announced in September 2022 as Purdue’s next big move in a decades-long series of major strategic investments, the new Daniels School has stated its aspirations to become a top-10 business school. This gift will help restructure and scale innovative degrees and provide transformational education experiences for undergraduate students, the release states.
Purdue’s ambitious relaunching plans aim to double graduate school enrollment while significantly increasing undergraduate enrollment – which is already up 33% since 2019. The Daniels School will also hire more faculty – up 50% in the last decade – and double the size of its facility through a substantial addition and renovation.
It will also continue its focus on STEM-oriented degrees, building upon the success of its Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) degree launched in fall 2021 as well its highly-ranked business analytics program.
“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,” Bill Hanna, executive director of the White Family Foundation says in the release. “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.”
The foundation previously gifted $20.8 million in April 2022 to launch the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance program. The White Family also played a major role in transforming the Union Club Hotel (part of the university’s hospitality program) with combined gifts of $30 million. In 2021, Purdue renamed its hospitality and tourism school the White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Further, alumni and other benefactors have committed more than $127 million to Daniels School relaunch while Purdue University has pledged $200 million.
BIG MONEY GIFTS TO B-SCHOOLS
Not only is the $50 million gift the largest ever for Purdue’s business programs, it stands among the largest philanthropic gifts to any business school. Particularly in the last two and half decades, notable alumni have increasingly made transformative big-dollar gifts to their alma maters. David Booth’s $300 million gift to Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2008 remains the largest ever, followed by $250 million Stephen Ross made to Michigan’s Ross School of Business over several years.
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