Purdue gets record $40M gift from Lilly Endowment

February 18, 2015

Purdue University has received the biggest cash donation in the school’s 146-year history—a $40 million gift from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund five projects in engineering, technology and research.

“This is an important moment in Purdue history,” President Mitch Daniels said Wednesday in a written statement announcing the gift. “It’s now our duty to turn it into a significant event in Indiana history by delivering even more world-class engineers, technologists and leaders of all kinds, along with the discoveries, innovations and new jobs that great research produces.”

The grant will provide:

— $13 million for the Innovation Design Center, a facility planned to provide engineering and technology students with space, collaborative areas and computer-aided design studios in which they can develop and test extracurricular and course-based design projects.

— $5 million for expansion of the College of Engineering’s Maurice J. Zucrow Labs, the nation’s largest university propulsion laboratory. Originally developed in 1964 as part of the Apollo space program, the labs will be expanded to include five new test cells and a laser diagnostics lab for environmental controls.

— $13.5 million for a $54 million Flex Lab in the College of Engineering that will enable faculty teams to collaborate on research in fields including advanced manufacturing, imaging, information technology and medical devices.

Purdue said the planned 75,000-square-foot lab is “critical to the strategic growth in engineering and will boost industry- and government-funded research collaborations and intellectual property development.”

— $5 million for the Active Learning Center, a facility that will mix classrooms, libraries, and study and collaboration areas in one adaptable space. The building will consist of 38,000 square feet of study space and 59,000 square feet of classroom space.

— $3.5 million for the College of Technology’s transformation into the Polytechnic Institute, which will introduce student-driven, project-based courses designed to address the needs of Indiana industries that employ Purdue technology graduates.

The Innovation Design Center, Zucrow Labs expansion, Flex Lab and Active Learning Center are all scheduled to be ready for use in 2017.

“These projects hold great promise to be real game-changers,” Sara Cobb, vice president of education for Lilly Endowment, said in the statement. “With its considerable strengths in engineering and technology, Purdue is poised for significant impact in research, education and economic development.”


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