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Studers Donate $1 Million to Further IHMC New Initiatives

Quint and Rishy Studer have generously donated $1 million to the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Studer said the gift to IHMC was a natural stair step for him and his wife, Rishy.

“When I taught special education, the whole goal was to maximize a person’s capabilities. When we formed the Studer Group, it was the same thing…our mission was about maximizing human potential. And that’s what the Studer Community Institute and EntreCon and CivicCon are also about. So, when you look at what IHMC does, it also strives to maximize people’s human potential. That’s why this gift just feels like a natural stair step for Rishy and me.”

IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute that has grown into one of the nation’s premier research organizations with world-class scientists and engineers investigating a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience. The institute is part of the Florida University System and is based in Pensacola with a branch in Ocala.

“Quint told us we could use the gift for anything we want, which was great,” said IHMC co-founder and CEO Ken Ford. “But when I brought up the work we’re doing in human performance, which is a relatively new area for us, he seemed to really like the idea of helping us expand our research into this area.”

Much of the IHMC’s work in human performance is focused on humans in extreme environments, such as space, undersea, and high-performance military aircraft. Ford is assembling a cadre of top researchers to employ science and technology to first understand the hazards associated with humans in extreme environments and then to build systems to mitigate those risks.

“The military aircraft is an extreme environment. Astronauts are continuously placed in ridiculously extreme environments. And military divers also face extreme conditions,” said Ford. “Most of the communities we serve are outliers in the human species. These are high-performing humans who are regularly subjected to hazardous environments, and we want to understand the nature of the hazard and how the hazard might be mitigated.”

Studer said he and his wife have long been admirers of Ford and the institute. “I strongly believe you don’t bet on the what…you bet on the who. So, when you look at IHMC over the years, they’ve had solid leadership and world-class scientists. So Rishy and I are investing in the who…the people at IHMC, not the building and not even the science. We’re investing in the who, the people of IHMC.”