April 8, 2022

Venture capitalist Martinson gives $25 million to Purdue’s Honors College

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (April 8) approved naming the Honors College for alumnus John Martinson in recognition of a $25 million gift.

The college, currently ranked in the top 20 honors colleges nationally in College Transitions, will be known as the John Martinson Honors College. Martinson’s gift will support undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity; leadership and professional development; global and community engagement; and innovative pedagogies.

Purdue established a universitywide honors program in 2005, bringing together distributed honors programs across disciplinary colleges. That step led to the creation of a new Honors College, Purdue’s first interdisciplinary, residential academic college, which welcomed an inaugural class of 556 students in 2013 and currently enrolls over 2,700 students.

honors-hall Students study in the Honors Hall, which serves as a gathering and event space for the 2,700 honors students of the newly named John Martinson Honors College. (Purdue University photo) Download image

“The Honors College is unique among other higher education programs because of its individualized experiences housed within a public Research 1 university consistently named one of the Top 10 Most Innovative,” said Rhonda Phillips, dean of the Honors College. “With these resources, the Honors College serves as a test bed for designing and deploying creative pedagogy to equip our graduates with the research and entrepreneurial skills they need to lead in an era of unprecedented global change. The incredible Martinson investment in our distinctive offerings will establish the Honors College as a top program nationally with methods that can be exported to other colleges and schools for greater societal impact.”

Martinson is a venture capitalist who earned a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue in 1971. He has previously given nearly $9 million to the College of Engineering. His gifts established the John Martinson Entrepreneurial Center in 2019 and have supported the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering, EPICS and Women in Engineering.  

In 1986, Martinson founded Edison Partners. He is now chairman of Martinson Ventures and has served on the boards of directors for 80 technology businesses, as well as serving as chairman of the National Venture Capital Association.

“I am thrilled to invest in Purdue’s Honors College,” Martinson said. “I have researched honors colleges across the country, and Purdue’s college stands out because of its size and outstanding facilities. Due to its youth, the college needs some capital to reach its full potential to launch gifted students to change the world. I urge other graduates to support Purdue’s top students.”

The Honors College champions the cultivation of knowledge and skills by bringing together highly motivated students from all areas of study into one intellectual and residential community of scholars. It is anchored in interdisciplinary learning, discovery and engagement, predicated on the participation of all Purdue disciplinary colleges. Collaboration across the Purdue community is key to attaining the Honors College vision: Achieve Preeminence in Honors Education as a National Exemplar.

“John’s investment is a vote of confidence in the highly successful and innovative work happening in the Honors College,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “The Honors College is leading the way for Transformative Education 2.0, one of Purdue’s Next Moves, to make Purdue the most innovative residential learning program in the U.S. among large research universities. The Martinson gift will go a long way to advance this important goal.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.

Writer: Katie Donworth, KEDonworth@purdueforlife.org 

Sources: Rhonda Phillips

John Martinson

Mitch Daniels


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