Mathematics alum gives $1.5 million to endow professorship

October 22, 2012  


Andris Zoltners

Andris Zoltners
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue mathematics alumnus Andris Zoltners has given a $1.5 million gift to the university's College of Science to be used for a distinguished professorship.

Through Purdue's Faculty Fund for Excellence, the gift will be matched with $1 million, bringing the total for the Andris A. Zoltners Distinguished Professorship to $2.5 million.

"Gifts like Andris Zoltners' that allow us to recruit and recognize talented professors are especially important to our success," said acting President Timothy Sands. "A strong faculty is the key to both advances in research and a fulfilling educational experience for students. Gifts that support faculty go to the heart of our mission."

Jeffrey Roberts, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science, said Zoltners' gift will help Purdue attract and retain a professor who excels in mathematics teaching and research.

"Mathematics is critical not only to the STEM fields for which Purdue is internationally known, but, as Dr. Zoltners' business success illustrates, it also offers the solution to problems across all disciplines," he said. "A distinguished professorship in Dr. Zoltners' name is a fitting way to express pride in our alumnus and gratitude for his history of generosity to the Department of Mathematics and College of Science."

Zoltners, of Chicago, applied his mathematics education to solving problems in the sales and marketing industry. He is a prominent author and expert in marketing models and sales force design and co-founder of ZS Associates, a global sales and marketing consulting firm in Chicago.

He earned a master's degree in mathematics from Purdue in 1969 and in 1999 received a distinguished alumni award from the Department of Mathematics.

After graduating from Purdue, Zoltners studied integer-programming algorithms and earned a doctoral degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1973. In 1983 co-founded ZS Associates. Today ZS Associates has more than 1,000 employees and assists Global 500 companies and industries throughout the world.

Zoltners also is a professor emeritus of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where he has been a faculty member for more than 30 years. In 2005 Zoltners was inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Zoltners said he has not forgotten the impact Purdue professors had on him and hopes that strong influence and guidance will be retained for future generations of mathematicians.

"To be competitive in world markets, the U.S. needs to produce the best educated scientists and mathematicians in the world," Zoltners said. "Our universities are still the best in the world at scientific education and research. I am hoping in a small way to continue to build this asset and enhance the leadership."

The Faculty Fund for Excellence was established earlier this year to raise private gifts to endow new professorships. Gifts of $750,000 or more will be matched up to $1 million from $7.25 million in matching university funds designated for faculty investment.

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu

Sources:  Jeffrey Roberts, 765-494-1730, jtrob@purdue.edu

Andrew Shafer, director of advancement for Purdue's College of Science, 765-496-3525, aashafer@purdue.edu

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