Colorado College has received an anonymous $8.5 million commitment that will provide support for the development of an innovation program, including funds for an innovation facility and a chaired professorship in innovation.

The commitment, one of the largest gifts in the college’s history, comes after Forbes listed CC as the third “Most Entrepreneurial College in America” and U.S. News & World Report ranked CC first for innovation among national liberal arts colleges.

“Colorado College is becoming a nationally recognized leader in innovation. So this commitment is not only extraordinarily generous, its timing could not be better,” said CC President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The funding will help us to make real and significant progress toward this important priority, which is highlighted in the college’s strategic plan.”

The anonymous donor cited CC’s unique approach to innovation, noting that the college weaves innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the liberal arts. “My goal in making this gift is to obliterate silos and ensure that Colorado College students from all academic backgrounds are equipped and given the opportunity to realize their dreams while changing the world in significant, positive ways,” the donor said.

Of the $8.5 million, $6 million is directed toward a $15 million building for innovation. Current plans for the facility include a product realization (development) laboratory, a recording studio, an idea space, and a food ecology laboratory.

Colorado College plans to raise another $8 million before breaking ground on the new building. In the meantime, the innovation program will continue to operate out of the Morreale Carriage House on the CC campus.

In addition to providing funds for the building, the commitment includes $2.5 million to fund and permanently endow a chaired professorship in innovation. Patrick Bultema, the college’s executive director of innovation, will become the initial chair.

“Our innovation program provides a foundation for translating the analytical thinking, problem solving, and creativity of the liberal arts into action,” Bultema said. “This gift will allow us to intensify our focus and build one of the most forward-thinking programs and spaces for innovative action and entrepreneurial exploration.”

“The gift will have an enormous impact on Colorado College,” Tiefenthaler said. “It affirms our strategic commitment to innovation and provides significant momentum to funding the new building.”