Rose-Hulman Receives Major Gift for New Academic Leadership Program

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Red background with white letters reading Noblitt Scholars Program

The Noblitt Scholars program will ensure Rose-Hulman continues to attract the world’s best students while giving them the skills they need to make a positive impact on campus and in the world.

Rose-Hulman has received a $10 million gift to launch a first-of-its-kind college-based merit and leadership scholars program designed to transform the world’s most gifted STEM students into future science and industry leaders.

The gift, from alumnus Niles Noblitt and his wife, Nancy, will fund the Noblitt Scholars program. Students in the program will be required to identify an area of concern or interest to them, such as sustainability, infrastructure or social justice. Working with a faculty mentor, they will dive deeply into their chosen area to gain a growing knowledge and understanding of the context involved. To demonstrate their progress, each year during the four-year program they will formally present their reflections on what they have learned, mastered and discovered.

“We are extremely grateful to Nancy and Niles for their generosity and commitment to the success of our students,” said Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons. “By establishing a nationally recognized merit scholars’ program, we’ll continue to provide the personal attention that is the hallmark of a Rose-Hulman education but in exciting new ways that will bring transformative societal change. I believe this gift will also be transformational to the institute, helping to position Rose-Hulman as a national leader in educating students in STEM fields.”

After a rigorous selection process including interviews with faculty and Rose-Hulman alumni from across the U.S., 81 first-year students from all over the world were selected to become the inaugural class of Noblitt Scholars beginning with the 2020-21 academic year. The diverse group helped Rose-Hulman develop its largest class of incoming freshmen since 2017. Highlights of the inaugural class include:

• 47% of the students are female
• 76% are from outside Indiana
• 21% of the students are African American
• International students hail from China, South Korea and India
• Median SAT 730; ACT 34

“We wanted to establish a program that will enable our students to make a positive impact on environmental, infrastructure, health care and other major challenges as soon as possible,” said Noblitt, a 1973 Rose-Hulman biological engineering alumnus and current board chairman who co-founded Biomet, Inc., a medical device company in Warsaw, Indiana now known as Zimmer Biomet. “This program will further unlock the tremendous potential of Rose-Hulman’s talented and hard-working student body.”

Looking ahead, the program will add approximately 55 new first-year students each fall. Noblitt Scholars will remain in the program for their entire four years at Rose-Hulman.

To learn more about the Noblitt Scholars Program and meet some of the scholars visit