FRANKLIN - A $500,000 gift from a former Franklin College trustee and his wife will be used to establish an endowed fund aimed at innovation and leadership development. The college says the gift from John and Nancy Peterson will create “The Hive at Franklin College,” a program focusing on collaboration among students and business and nonprofit leaders.

Franklin College says The Hive will "reinforce the collective spirit of innovation." President Thomas Minar says the program will take students to the next level of pursuing their goals by creating a professional setting to create and connect around ideas, services, and new business concepts.

"We are very excited about The Hive," Minar said in a news release. "A dynamic, physical nexus of creating, connecting, learning and launching, The Hive will epitomize several of the most distinctive goals of our newly reimagined college curriculum. It will also inspire an entrepreneurial mindset to contribute new ideas and approaches to addressing complexities in today’s marketplace."

The Hive will consist of three integrative platforms:

  • The Hive Consulting Services: Allowing student teams to meet client goals through the application of relevant knowledge and skills. The Hive consulting teams may work as part of a course or as ad hoc consulting groups.
  • The Launch Pad: Facilitating small- or large-group sharing sessions for anyone looking to pilot new or to refine existing approaches to problems. Sessions are open to students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members who seek feedback on their ideas.
  • Technology, New Media and Creative Play Innovation: Students will have access to digital, video/audio and other equipment and an environment conducive to play. This feature is designed to allow the brain to play, construct and innovate.

The Hive will be located in a space in downtown Franklin previously occupied by the college's Master of Science in Athletic Training program. The college says it is searching for a director of leadership and innovation to manage the program.

John Peterson served on the Franklin College Board of Trustees from 1988 to 2003.