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