Co-founder of biomedical giant Biomet donates $10M to Rose-Hulman

The co-founder of Biomet Inc.—the biomedical device giant now known as Zimmer Biomet—has donated $10 million to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the school announced Tuesday.

Niles Noblitt, a Rose-Hulman graduate and chairman of the school’s board of trustees, made the donation along with his wife, Nancy.

Rose-Hulman, which offers the country’s top-rated undergraduate engineering program, said the gift was among the largest individual donations in institute history.

The school said the money will support new student programming focused on developing leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.

“Our goal is to give back to the institute so it can continue to attract the very best students,” said Noblitt, who graduated from Rose-Hulman with a degree in biological engineering in 1973, in written comments. “Nancy and I want the institute to continue to draw gifted students who are leaders and whose immediate contributions will make a difference on campus and in the world.”

Noblitt was one of four co-founders of Warsaw, Indiana-based Biomet in 1977. His work included developing total joint prosthetic devices and processes that still have significant usage in thousands of patients worldwide.

Biomet became one of the fastest-growing manufacturers of orthopedic medical devices in the nation. Noblitt served as chairman of the company from 1986 until his retirement in 2007. Zimmer acquired he business in 2014 for $13.4 billion.

Noblitt is chairman of the board for Atlanta-based MedShape Inc., a maker of foot and ankle orthopedic devices. He previous was a board member of NICO Corp., an Indianapolis-based pioneer in minimally invasive methods of brain surgery.

“This generous gift from Niles and Nancy only helps to strengthen the position of Rose-Hulman as the premier educator of students in the STEM fields globally,” Rose-Hulman President Robert Coons said in written remarks.

The Noblitts also support a student scholarship fund they started at Rose-Hulman.

Founded in 1874 and located in Terre Haute, Rose-Hulman has an enrollment of about 2,000 undergraduate students and nearly 100 graduate students.

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