Tech Leader Don Brown Gives $30M to IU School of Medicine

Posted: Updated:
Brown founded Interactive Intelligence in the mid-1990s. Brown founded Interactive Intelligence in the mid-1990s.
INDIANAPOLIS -

Hoosier tech entrepreneur Don Brown is donating $30 million to the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. The gift is the largest-ever from an alumnus to the med school and will establish the Brown Center for Immunotherapy. Brown holds multiple degrees from IU and is a pioneer in the state's tech scene. Interactive Intelligence, the Indianapolis company he founded and led for more than two decades, sold this year to Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. for $1.4 billion.

When the deal was announced in August, Brown had not yet zeroed in on what he planned to do next. In an interview at the time with Inside INdiana Business, he said he wanted to focus more on the startup community. "I'm going to be certainly exploring Indy first," he said. "That would be my preference. If things work out, I would love to grow a number of additional ventures here." In addition to Indianapolis, Brown has connections to Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.

While still in medical school, Brown co-founded Dealership Programming Inc., which helped car dealers calculate customer financing. In the late-1980s, Brown moved on to co-found Software Artistry Inc. in Indianapolis. It became the first software company in the state to go public and was sold to IBM in 1998. Brown launched Interactive Intelligence in 1994. The call center software business has grown to include some 2,000 employees throughout the world.

In a release from the IU School of Medicine, Brown says "when I learned that we were going to be selling Interactive Intelligence and I would be able to monetize the investments I had made, I wanted to take some portion of the fruit of my efforts and use it to give back to the larger community, and to do so at least partly as a message to my children. I wanted to communicate to them as much as anybody that my life has not been about accumulating wealth. I've always wanted to build teams and do really interesting things. The wealth has been a byproduct of that, and I'd like to be able to use that to do things that benefit not just me and not just my family, but society as a whole. That's been a huge factor behind this effort."

The school says $13 million of Brown's gift will go toward five endowed faculty chairs. The Don Brown Chair in Immunotherapy will direct the center and be joined by four others in leadership roles named for four of Brown's eight children: the Paige Brown Chair in Experimental Therapeutics, the Nicole Brown Chair in Immunology, the Christopher Brown Chair in Immunology and the David Brown Chair in Genomic Medicine. The rest of the funding will be spent on infrastructure, technology and research.

  • Perspectives

    • Plan Developed; Time For Action

      More than two hundred community leaders from all corners of the region gathered last week in Mishawaka for the unveiling of the first ever regional economic development plan. The plan launch marked the culmination of more than a year of work by hundreds of volunteers seeking to develop a roadmap for regional development over the next seven years. The plan comes on the heels of...

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Gen Con Extends With Indianapolis

      Gen Con LLC has extended its agreement to hold its massive gaming event in Indianapolis through 2022. Last year's event attracted record turnstile attendance of nearly 208,000. For the first time in its 50-year history, the convention sold out all of its attendee badges before last year's event began. The event also added the first level of Lucas Oil Stadium, and reached Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time for a concert by Grammy-winning band They Might Be Giants.

    • Cummins to Design Combat Engines That Elude the Enemy

      The monstrous, larger-than-life military tanks of tomorrow could be powered by Hoosier ingenuity. A recent $47 million defense contract delivers marching orders for Columbus-based Cummins Inc.: develop the next-generation engine to power U.S. combat vehicles, and it must be stronger, but smaller, and elusive to enemies’ efforts to spot it. 

    • Manufacturing Exec: Indiana Has a 'Population Problem'

      The president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association says, to fill the growing number of openings in Indiana's manufacturing sector and beyond, the state needs to ramp up efforts to increase its population. "Our check engine light is on," says Brian Burton, "and it's blinking." He says the association is pushing a measure with state lawmakers that would exempt some people who move to Indiana for a job from paying state income tax for a number of years.

    • Greenwood Approves Downtown Projects

      The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission has approved more than $4.5 million in downtown projects. They include a major exterior renovation for Planetary Brewing and a new connector road. The Planetary Brewing project is being supported by funding from the G.R.O.W. Greenwood Initiative, which is a matching grant program to help businesses along some of the city's most traveled corridors improve their aesthetic appeal. RDC President Brent Tilson says the results have been...

    • Study: Indiana Amish Gene Mutation Shows Longer Life Potential

      Northeast Indiana's Amish population is at the center of research that could help people live longer. Results from a 2015 study that were published late last year in the journal ScienceAdvances suggests those who possess a specific gene mutation, first identified in 1991 by the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center in an Adams County girl with a rare bleeding disorder, live around a decade longer than normal. They also had lower insulin levels and diabetes rates.