INDIANAPOLIS (October 16, 2007) — Last May, Fred S. Klipsch, chairman and CEO of multi-brand global loudspeaker company Klipsch Group, Inc., donned a dark robe and angular cap and shook several Ph.D.-level hands while receiving an honorary degree at Purdue University’s spring commencement ceremony.
The Purdue Trustees and state of Indiana selected Mr. Klipsch for a doctor of technology based on his lifelong credentials. Mr. Klipsch has successfully distinguished himself as an entrepreneur and philanthropist whose record of significant accomplishments and contributions to business, industry, higher education and charitable organizations spans nearly half a century.
“To be recognized by your peers in any area is clearly a great honor,” said Klipsch. “For that recognition to be an honorary Ph.D. from Purdue University exceeds any reasonable expectation.”
In addition to his Klipsch Group involvement, Mr. Klipsch serves as vice chairman of Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN). His most important charitable contribution has been working with the Educational Choice Charitable Trust, an organization that provides alternative private school education options to economically disadvantaged families in Indianapolis, Ind.
According to Dr. Matthew Stephens, a professor in Purdue’s industrial technology department and steward of Mr. Klipsch’s nomination, an honorary degree is one of higher education’s most significant accolades.
“We do not take honorary degrees lightly,” said Stephens. “Recipients are people who have done great things for industry and mankind. They must be a true citizen of the world and Dr. Klipsch falls into that category.”
The honorary degree process starts with a preliminary evaluation and if considered valid, moves through several committees consisting of professors, deans and department heads before finally reaching the university president and board of trustees where the final decision is made. Additionally, friends, co-workers, business partners and the like are asked to submit testimonial letters to Purdue on the nominee’s behalf.
Stephens said it is an extremely tough evaluation process, and many times nominees don’t even realize they are being considered for the degree. “We try to keep everything confidential as we don’t want to get someone’s hopes up. It’s that hard to get this kind of recognition from our university,” he said.
Mr. Klipsch is an avid, ongoing supporter of Purdue University and its College of Technology. According to Dennis Depew, dean of the College of Technology, Mr. Klipsch is a highly valued member of the Dean’s Executive Council. “We are very appreciative of his sincere commitment and involvement with our university,” he said.
Fred S. Klipsch Biography
Raised in Indianapolis, Ind., Mr. Klipsch earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial education from Purdue in 1964. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in Southern California, where he worked on his master’s of business administration at California State College at Long Beach, earning the degree in 1968.
He returned to Indianapolis and worked four years for IBM, gaining valuable insight into corporate structure. That led to an opportunity with Overhead Door Co. of Indianapolis, where he eventually became president, co-chairman and co-owner. His success at Overhead set the stage for several other business opportunities, including the acquisitions of Hospital Affiliates Development Corporation and Klipsch & Associates in 1989. While Hospital Affiliates Development Corporation developed into Windrose Medical Properties Trust after a 2002 IPO, Klipsch & Associates became Klipsch Group, Inc. in 2006. Also, in 2006, Windrose merged with Health Care REIT.
Furthermore, Mr. Klipsch was inducted into Junior Achievement’s Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame in 2006 and named Indiana Heartland’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® in 2000.
Mr. Klipsch also enjoys volunteering his services and support, including being active with the President's Council and the John Purdue Club at his alma mater. He has served on the Indianapolis Campaign Steering Committee and the College of Technology Dean's Executive Council.