Business leader gives $1 million to advance women in management

December 18, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University alumna and longtime university supporter is giving a $1 million gift to advance women in management by providing undergraduate scholarships for women enrolled in Purdue’s School of Management.

Jane Brock-Wilson, managing director of Berkshire Partners, is providing the gift to create a supportive culture for women in management at Purdue.

“My Purdue education provided me a well-rounded foundation in both academics and leadership opportunities,” Brock-Wilson said. “I feel strongly about giving those same opportunities to other undergraduate women.”

Brock-Wilson, a Lafayette, Indiana native, earned a bachelor's degree in industrial management in 1978. She was honored with the 2014 Krannert Business Leadership Award.

“Jane Brock-Wilson is one of the finest alumni Purdue has ever produced,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “With this wonderful gift, we increase the chances that the world will benefit from more great businesswomen like her in the decades ahead.”

Brock-Wilson’s gift resulted in a $1.5 million match from Purdue Research Foundation, made available by donor funds, for a total of $2.5 million dedicated to advancing women in management. In honor of the gift, the school has established the Jane Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Jane for her leadership role in this vital initiative,” said David Hummels, dean of Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. “The center will allow us to award scholarships to significantly improve access for women in our programs. It will provide thought leadership in how women play an important role in corporate America. It also will give us an opportunity to provide experiential learning and engagement opportunities that will extend the impact of a Krannert education beyond the years a student spends on campus.”

As an example, the center funded local prize money for Purdue participants in the InnovateHER competition. The contest was launched this year by the U.S. Small Business Administration to highlight innovative products and services designed to empower the lives of women and families.

The winner of the Purdue competition was Vibronix, which is commercializing an intraoperative breast cancer assessment tool called MarginPAT. The tool helps remove a tumor within one surgical operation and eliminate the risk of a second operation. The runner-up in the Purdue competition was SPEAK MODalities, which created mobile applications to be used in teaching communication to children with autism.

Judges for the Purdue competition were Silicon Valley entrepreneur Beth Bostwick; Anika Jackson, vice president of Jackson Asset Management; Saundra Linn, co-founder of Epic Eats; Leza Tellam, CEO and founder of Flower District Cos.; Robin Throckmorton, president of strategic HR Inc.; and Julie Wainwright, CEO and founder of The RealReal.com.

The business plan for Vibronix will be forwarded to the Small Business Administration, which will choose 10 entrants from local competitions across the country to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C., on March 17 in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

A national search will be conducted for the director of the Jane Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management. 

Writer: John Hughey, 765-494-2432, hugheyj@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

David Hummels, 765-494-4366, krannertdean@purdue.edu 

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