SOUTH BEND - SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A gift from an Illinois couple will allow the University of Notre Dame to endow an associate provost for innovation position. John and Cathy Martin contributed $5 million to allow Vice President Bryan Ritchie to also hold the title of John and Cathy Martin Associate Provost for Innovation. 

“We are exceedingly grateful to John and Cathy for their leadership, involvement and support of Notre Dame’s innovation and entrepreneurship efforts,” said Thomas G. Burish, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost at Notre Dame. “Their generosity will help to provide the funds needed by the associate provost for innovation to help our faculty, staff and students explore the market potential of the intellectual property they have developed. This is a truly important gift.”

Ritchie is in his third year of leading the innovation and entrepreneurship programs at the 2016-founded IDEA Center, which has launched 62 startup companies, including 35 from Notre Dame students. 

“Creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation benefits everyone, including faculty, students, alumni and the community,” Ritchie said. “Deep engagement and support, both financial and operational, from philanthropists like John and Cathy Martin create a solid foundation on which Notre Dame can build a best-in-class commercialization center.”

John Martin recently retired as co-chief executive officer and founding partner of Antares Capital and has served 12 years on the College of Business Advisory Council, and was also appointed as the first chair of the IDEA Center Advisory Council.