TERRE HAUTE, Ind (ISU) – A $250,000 gift to Indiana State University from Rich and Robin Porter will create the Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center, a transformational boost to the university’s work on the disease, ISU announced Wednesday.
“This is a visionary program that will put our university on the map nationally as a competitive graduate program in the field,” ISU president Dr. Deborah J. Curtis said. “We are so grateful for our alumnus Rich Porter and his wife Robin, who have been generous donors to ISU in the past and now have given us the means to advance our cancer research tremendously.”
The donation will support five Rich and Robin Porter Research Fellows — internationally competitive graduate students — and allow them to focus their time and attention on research.
“Cancer touches everyone in some shape or form during their life,” said Rich Porter, a 1977 ISU graduate in Business Management and former hurdler on the track team. “So it became our philanthropic passion.”
Porter, who has had a distinguished 40-year career in the manufacturing business, serves as chair of the board of directors for the James Cancer Center at Ohio State University. The Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center will be in laboratory space on the second floor of ISU’s Science Building.
“Cancer will be cured one discovery at a time,” Porter said, “and our hope is that one of these discoveries will be made by a student from Indiana State University via the Rich and Robin Porter Cancer Research Center — whether that discovery takes place at Indiana State University or at some future point in these students' careers.
“That's our ultimate hope, that somebody from Indiana State University will be a participant in a discovery that will cure one version of cancer.”
Dr. Christopher Olsen, Dean of ISU’s College of Arts and Sciences, called the Porters’ gift “incredibly generous.”
“Their passion for supporting cutting edge cancer research is inspiring, and hopefully leads to the great breakthrough that we all want,” Olsen said. “Their generosity will allow us to advance cancer research by recruiting top graduate students from around the world. Porter Research Fellows will have the financial support they need to work all year on cancer research in the lab, collaborating with our world-class faculty and pushing the boundaries of research at Indiana State University.”
Said ISU Provost Dr. Mike Licari: “We are grateful for Rich and Robin Porter’s generous investment in Indiana State University. The Porters have long been passionate about cancer research, and I am excited to have the opportunity to connect that passion to ISU.”
For the past 13 years, Rich Porter has worked in private equity, building a platform of manufacturing companies in Ohio and New Hampshire. He is President of TE-CO Manufacturing in Union, Ohio. Porter’s professional career has spanned 40 years with companies including Kimball International, Rockwell International, and Ingersoll International.
The Porters have a history of giving to ISU. In 2015, Rich played an instrumental role in the donation of $500,000 in software to the College of Technology from Hurco Companies, where he serves on the board of directors.
In 2018, the Porters gave generously to create an interactive display for the track and field program. They added a $25,000 gift to name the track and field conference room in honor of Porter’s coach and mentor, Bill Malloy.