Purdue alumni use their skills, experience and education to promote innovation around the world. Now the opportunities are greater than ever before to give back and use those talents to support cutting edge research from Purdue innovators.
Pete Kay (PhD College of Science ‘66) first saw the impact of intellectual philanthropy nearly 20 years ago when he served on the advisory council for the Dean of the College of Science and learned about the work of Purdue’s Center for Cancer Research.
Pete, a strategic management consultant, was impressed by Purdue’s research breakthroughs. He and his wife, Sally, had lost three of their parents to cancer and felt a personal connection to The Center’s work. In 2001, Pete joined other alumni from the advisory council to brainstorm how they might assist The Center and expand its reach. Together, they developed the first strategic plan for the Center for Cancer Research, outlining a blueprint for coordinated outreach and fundraising.
Pete says the contribution of his time and expertise not only made an impact in the Purdue community, it also impacted him. It gave him an opportunity to help accelerate Purdue’s cancer research efforts, and it showed him that intellectual philanthropy is another great way in which alumni can support the university’s tradition of excellence.
Over the years, Pete and his wife Sally have become involved with numerous university projects. Sally did not attend Purdue but is so invested in its community that Presidents Jischke and Córdova both named her an honorary Boilermaker. She drew upon her background in innovation and strategic product development while serving as a member of an administrative search committee, the advisory council for The Center for Cancer Research and the advisory council for The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Kays are currently working with Purdue’s new hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization, The Purdue Foundry. The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship launched The Foundry last summer to support Purdue innovators as they navigate the process of moving an idea from the lab to the marketplace.
The Foundry partners Purdue faculty, s tudent s and s t a f f work i ng to commercialize their discoveries and form startup companies with support from alumni who can provide expertise along the way.
Pete and Sally have seen first-hand how such partnerships allow alumni to leverage their industry experience in helping Purdue faculty apply their research to real world applications. They say The Foundry will expand these opportunities and provide new ways for alumni to match their strengths with campus priorities.
As the Kays become involved with new projects, they remain connected to the work of the Center for Cancer Research, and its efforts have become even more personal for Pete, who is now a four-year cancer survivor.
“Pete and I share a passion for defeating cancer and it was eye opening for us to see the great research going on at Purdue,” Sally said. “We wanted to find a way to help with volunteer efforts as well as our financial support.”
Through their work with The Center, Sally and Pete learned Purdue would benefit from an endowed professorship in clinical cancer research.
To meet this need and equip researchers, they included Purdue in their estate planning. In addition they established a Charitable Remainder Trust. Once the trust is no longer providing a lifetime income to the Kays, the remaining balance in the trust will be endowed to support the university’s Science Bound program for students in Indianapolis Public Schools.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Pete said. “The charitable remainder trust is yet another opportunity to make a commitment to Purdue and also enjoy an income stream from the gift.” The Kays are passionate and hope other alumni will find similar ways to connect with The Foundry in areas where they have interest and expertise.
“Purdue alumni have so many resources to contribute in terms of their intellectual capital,” Pete said. “Those contributions can have as great an impact as financial contributions, and I know from personal experience that they can be lifechanging.”