Skip to Main Content

Faces Behind the Places of DePauw University

This guide includes historical information about the people behind DePauw University's building names.

Franklin Walter Olin

Olin BuildingThe F. W. Olin Biological Sciences building was named for Franklin Walter Olin. Olin was a graduate of Cornell University, class of 1886, and received a degree in civil engineering. After graduating, he went on to have a prosperous career as an engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and professional baseball play. His greatest accomplishments include the Olin Corporation and the F. W. Olin Foundation. His foundation consisted of his own personal wealth and was used to fund projects such as Cornell's chemical engineering building and a vocational school in Alton, Illinois. 

After his death in 1951, the foundation was given to a board of trustees, and they continued to give grants under the principals established in Olin's gift to Cornell. To fund academic buildings at a full cost, including equipment and furnishings. DePauw received a grant for 5.6 million dollars from the foundation in 1991 and construction for the building began in 1993. The F. W. Olin Foundation dissolved in 2005 and put the remaining assets toward the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. The foundation provided grants for 78 buildings across 50 institutions before it was dissolved.