Colorado College received an $8.5 million gift to continue to develop its innovation program, including money for a new building dedicated to entrepreneurship and a professorship in innovation.

The college made the announcement yesterday, saying in a press release that it is one of the largest gifts in Colorado College’s history.

The gift comes on the heels of national recognition for the college’s entrepreneurial programs. Forbes listed CC third in the nation in its “most entrepreneurial college,” and U.S. News and World Report listed the Colorado Springs college as first in entrepreneurship among liberal arts colleges.

“Colorado College is becoming a nationally recognized leader in innovation,” 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 the college’s approach to innovation as the reason for the gift.

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“Colorado College weaves innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the liberal arts,” said the donor. “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.”

Colorado College plans to spend $6 million for a $15 million building for innovation, which will include a product realization laboratory, a recording studio, an idea space and a food ecology laboratory.

Plans are underway to raise another $8 million before breaking ground on the new building. Until the fundraising campaign is finished, the innovation program will be housed at the Morreale Carriage House.

CC plans to spend $2.5 million from the anonymous donor to fund and permanently endow a professorship in innovation. Patrick Bultema, the college’s executive director of innovation, will become the first person to hold the position.

“Our innovation program provides a foundation for translating the analytical thinking, problem solving and creativity of the liberal arts into action,” Bultema said in the release. “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.”