Wright, John S. (1870-1951) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
John Shepard Wright was born October 17, 1870 to John Ellis and Elma Shepard Wright. Wright graduated from Purdue University in 1892 and received an honorary LL.D. in 1940. In 1942 Purdue recognized him as one of seventeen “golden graduates,” member of the class of 1892.
John S. Wright went to work for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, immediately after graduation, where he served as a botanist and drug inspector until 1904. He was then made advertising director. In 1910 Wright was allowed to purchase 50 shares of Eli Lilly stock, only the second non-family member allowed to do so. In 1927 John Wright became a member of the Board of Directors. He later became a consultant in advertising. John Wright published two volumes dealing with pharmacy. He was secretary of the Indiana Academy of Science for nine years and president for one year. At one time he lectured on medical botany at Indiana Medical College. He was affiliated with several social, literary, historical, and scientific societies. He became semi-retired from active service in 1943, but he remained on the board of directors of the Eli Lilly until April 1951. He was also on the board of directors of the Lilly Endowment.
The John S. Wright Forestry Center, located at 1007 North 725 West in West Lafayette, on the site of Martell Forest, approximately 7.5 miles west of the West Lafayette campus is named in honor of John Shepard Wright. In 1964 Wright provided the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources with a generous endowment for the promotion of forestry in Indiana. Mr. Wright was a botanist and a friend of many forestry leaders in Indiana, particularly Stanley Coulter, Purdue University Professor Daniel DenUyl, and Charles C. Deam, the first state forester of Indiana.