Purdue honors alumnus Bill Elmore for transformational gift to name ECE
Alumnus William B. Elmore was honored in two events on Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus for his $25-million gift to name the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. To maximize the impact of the gift, the school will distribute funds to address both short- and long-term needs and opportunities including the initiation of research and education centers alongside retention and recruitment support for faculty and students. Elmore was recognized at a luncheon sponsored by the School and at the 2021 Engineering Alumni Association Awards.
Dimitri Peroulis, Michael and Katherine Birck Head and Reilly Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, says the impact of the gift will be transformational for Purdue ECE.
“The funds will help with, among other things, the initiation of research and education centers, recruitment and retention efforts for faculty and students, and the creation of a new minor in artificial intelligence/machine learning” he said.
At the luncheon, the sign featuring the school’s new name was unveiled. Because several members of Elmore’s extended family attended Purdue, he chose to honor them in the naming the school.
“I’m not part of a multigenerational Purdue family, but I am part of a ‘horizontal’ Purdue family—we all went to Purdue contemporaneously and had great experiences—and I wanted to recognize how much we all benefited from going to Purdue,” Elmore said. “What I'd really like is for this gift to inspire other folks of both my generation and younger generations to consider giving back in a major way to Purdue. I’d like this to be an example that others could follow.”
At the Engineering Alumni Association Awards, Elmore received the Purdue University President's Council Crystal Boilermaker Special in recognition of his gift. Mung Chiang, executive vice president of Purdue and John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering, presented the award to Elmore.
“Bill Elmore has been a transformational leader in the technology venture field throughout the past decades. We are very proud of the pinnacle of excellence in his career and immensely grateful for the visionary generosity from Bill and the Elmore family,” said Chiang. “With this naming gift from Bill and the momentum generated, and under the leadership of Dimitri Peroulis, we will propel Purdue ECE’s learning, discovery, and engagement mission to new heights.”
Elmore (EE’75, MS EE’76), who grew up in Centerville, Ohio, now lives near San Francisco, where he established a highly successful career in the venture capital.
In 1995, Elmore co-founded Foundation Capital, a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California, that invests primarily in enterprise, financial, and consumer technology companies. Foundation Capital companies include Netflix, Lending Club, SunRun, and Chegg. Now an emeritus partner at Foundation Capital, he continues to invest full-time in promising technology startups. Elmore has served as a director of numerous private and public companies and works actively with the Purdue Research Foundation and in support of Purdue.
The University’s College of Engineering honored Elmore’s career and accomplishments with a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 2017. He also received the Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award in 2003.
Elmore says Purdue contributed a lot to his career and he believes strongly in the University’s mission and the vision of the leadership team in the College of Engineering.
“Purdue has been making great strides in advancing its mission—across many, many fronts—under the guidance of Mitch Daniels, and it’s always good to put energy and money behind great momentum,” Elmore said.
Purdue ECE was established in 1888. It currently consists of 115 faculty members, 1,700 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students. The undergraduate and graduate programs frequently rank in the top 10 of U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges rankings. U.S. News also ranks Purdue’s online master’s program in electrical engineering No. 1 in the nation.