James R. Carpenter


Presidents Circle Laurel Pin (2018)


James "Jim" Carpenter received his B.A. in Biological Sciences in 1975 from IU Bloomington. Shortly before graduating, he discovered birding and joined the Student Audubon Society and became passionate about the hobby. Carpenter was also a member of Phi Gamma Delta. After deciding to change career paths, Carpenter pursued his master's in horticulture at Purdue University and graduated in 1979.

Carpenter's passion for birding grew into a business and he opened the first Wild Birds Unlimited in 1981. With his wife, Nancy, he grew the business into a franchise which now has over 300 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Carpenter has also released a book, "The Joy of Bird Feeding." Wild Birds Unlimited was surveyed with 500 franchises for satisfaction, and were ranked no. 11 in satisfaction and no. 1 in the retail category in Franchise Business Review's 2017 awards.

The Carpenters became interested in neurological disease when Nancy's mother, Sarah, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. They established the Sarah Roush Memorial Professorship in Alzheimer's Disease Research in her memory. This postdoctoral fellowship propels current research in the field of Alzheimer's disease or other neurodegenerative dementing illnesses. James and Nancy were inducted into the Presidents Circle at the Benefactor level in 2018.