Gift from Butler alumna Marianne Glick ʼ73, MS ʼ74, and Mike Woods will provide operating support and facility renovations for the two-year college.

Indianapolis philanthropist and Butler University alumna Marianne Glick and her spouse, Mike Woods, made a historic gift of $2.5 million to Founder’s College at Butler University, a new two-year college that Butler will launch in August 2025. To commemorate the couple’s philanthropic leadership and profound impact on communities across Indiana, Butler University will dedicate the space for Founder’s College on Butler’s campus as the Marianne Glick and Mike Woods Founder’s College Commons. 

The couple was genuinely moved by the Founder’s College mission to respond to gaps in college-going and persistence among historically underserved students through an affordable financial model paired with holistic support systems. Butler officials say that, with federal and state grants, Founder’s College students can earn an associate’s degree with no out-of-pocket costs or debt. Those who graduate and choose to pursue their bachelor’s degree at Butler University can do so for approximately $10,000. Glick has been a tireless advocate for expanding opportunities for Indianapolis youth throughout her life, including extensive philanthropic support of K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions that are working to improve educational opportunities and outcomes. She views support of Founder’s College as a continuation of that advocacy work. 

“I’m really thrilled Butler is doing this,” Glick said. “Providing affordable education at a high-quality school like Butler for those that have historically not been able to go is transformational. I want to make sure that all students—regardless of their race, gender identity, or income—have that opportunity.” 

The Marianne Glick and Mike Woods Founder’s College Commons will be co-located with Butler University’s College of Education in the building at the intersection of 42nd Street and Haughey Avenue. The couple’s gift will fund the renovations needed to the space, along with operating support for Founder’s College. The facility is being designed to create a welcoming environment for students on campus, where support resources such as financial aid, career services, embedded counselors, faculty, and leadership are all located under one roof. The design will reflect Founder’s College’s team-based approach to student care, with all support amenities easily accessible for students. 

Founder’s College will welcome its first class of students in fall 2025, with applications opening August 15, 2024. Earlier this year, the College named Dr. Carolyn Gentle-Genitty its inaugural Dean. Hiring of additional faculty and staff for the College is currently underway. 

“There is tremendous excitement in the community and on campus as we continue to prepare to welcome our inaugural class in August 2025,” Gentle-Genitty said. “This genuinely personal and purposeful gift from Marianne Glick and Mike Woods—for which we express heartfelt thanks—speaks to the momentum we in higher education ought to sustain to allow space for equity and excellence, hard work, and advanced learning to coexist. It fuels my joy and offers confidence within the Founder’s College team and across the Butler University campus to achieve our goals to provide affordable access to historically underserved students.” 

Glick is Board Chair of the Glick Family Foundation, a charitable initiative of Glick Philanthropies. Her leadership has carried on the legacy of her parents (Indianapolis real estate titans Eugene and Marilyn Glick) and the mission of the Gene B. Glick Company through countless investments to enhance education, self-sufficiency, and quality of life in Central Indiana. Glick also serves as Board Chair of TeenWorks, an independent nonprofit organization that provides year-round mentorship, scholarship, and career development coaching in addition to summer employment. 

“The Glick family’s long-standing support of TeenWorks has been critical to advancing our mission to empower teens to achieve excellence in community, college and career,” Nick Duvall, TeenWorks President & CEO, said. “Marianne’s commitment to advancing opportunities for young people is unparalleled in this community, and we are excited to see the impact of her support on Founder’s College at Butler University.” 

Glick’s interest in expanding opportunities for underserved youth traces back to her student years at Butler University’s College of Education, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational psychology. Woods also has a personal connection to Butler. His father, Bob, attended Butler in the 1940s until he was forced to discontinue his education to care for an ailing family member. Woods views the couple’s gift as a way to honor his father’s Butler experience and to acknowledge the challenges faced by many students in completing their degrees. 

Founder’s College aims to address those challenges through practical wrap-around support services, including flexible schedules, paid internships, emergency funds, and a financial package that includes books, a laptop, one meal per day, transportation, and other related costs. Founder’s College will utilize the Come to Believe Network model, which was founded at Loyola University of Chicago’s Arrupe College. More than 90 percent of students who have graduated from Come To Believe colleges have done so without incurring any debt. 

“On behalf of Butler University, I am deeply grateful to Marianne Glick and Mike Woods for joining in our vision to make a Butler education more accessible and affordable through their generous support of Founder’s College,” Butler University President James Danko said. “This gift is an inspiring demonstration of belief in the power of education and in the endless potential of our future Founder’s College students. We are proud to have the Glick and Woods names associated with this important effort to expand the pathway to degree attainment for Indiana students.”