Purdue lands $50M donation for new business school

White Lodging founder Bruce White

The Merrillville-based Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation has committed $50 million for the undergraduate institute at the Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. School of Business at Purdue University, the school announced Monday.

The institute will be renamed the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute after the founder and chairman of White Lodging Services Corp., who died last month.

Purdue said the commitment will serve as the lead gift to Purdue’s effort to reorganize the school of business, an effort that was first announced last September.

The gift is the largest monetary contribution ever made to the university’s school of business/management, according to Purdue.

“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 said in written remarks. “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 said the Bruce White Undergraduate Institute will be the flagship element of the Daniels School of Business. Additionally, the university plans to retain the Krannert name for its graduate school, which will be rebranded as the Krannert Graduate Institute.

The names of both institutes still require approval from the Purdue Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee, which is expected in the coming days.

White was also a member of the board of trustees and a longtime benefactor for the university.

In October 2021, Purdue renamed its hospitality and tourism program the White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, following a $5 million pledge from the foundation and Bruce and Beth White.

In 2018, the foundation pledged $30 million to support the renovation of the 182-room Union Club Hotel on the West Lafayette campus, which was completed in August 2020. White Lodging manages the hotel.

“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.”

As part of the university’s effort to redefine the School of Business, it launched new degree pilots, including a real estate finance minor that was part of a nearly $21 million commitment from the White Family Foundation announced last April.

Purdue said earlier this month it will rename the new business school after Mitch Daniels, who stepped down at the end of 2022 as president of Purdue after 10 years.

The university aims to increase enrollment in the school to 4,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students by 2028. The project calls for doubling the size of its existing building to accommodate the growth.

More than $127 million has been committed to the business school by donors, according to Purdue. The university said an initial investment of $300 million will be required to launch the school, with $200 million coming from a fundraising campaign.

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