Don Budinger is one of the founders and the former president of Rodel Inc. - a garage startup that grew to become the world's largest manufacturer of the surface-finishing chemicals used to make computer chips, rigid memory disks, and specialty optics.
When Rodel was sold in 1999, a significant portion of the proceeds was contributed to create the Rodel Foundations. The purpose of the Rodel Foundations is to improve the pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public education systems in Delaware and Arizona so that they will be widely recognized as two of the best in the nation.
Currently, Don is chairman and founding director of the Rodel Foundations, chairman and founding director of Science Foundation Arizona, and a board member of the Morrison Institute, Basis Charter Schools, and Greater Phoenix Leadership. In addition, Don serves on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the O'Connor House Advisory Group.
Don has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 O'Connor House Community Leadership Award; the Techanthropic Award from a coalition of the Arizona Technology Council, Microsoft Corp., and NPower; the Science of Early Learning award from New Directions Institute; the Horace Steele Child Advocacy award from Children's Action Alliance; the Outstanding Achievement in Higher Education award from the Arizona Board of Regents; the Homeroom Heroes award from Teach for America; and the Distinguished Service award from the University of Arizona College of Engineering.
Don graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northern Arizona University. Don and his wife, Leslie, have four children and three grandchildren.