Franklin College Alumnus Selected for Induction into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Franklin College alumnus James M. Sprague, Ph.D., has been selected for posthumous induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) on May 2, 2019, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Sprague was selected for the honor for his part in the Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories team that pioneered thiazide diuretics, the first class of drugs to safely and effectively treat hypertension.  Today, thiazide diuretics remain a first-line treatment for high blood pressure and related heart problems.

“The National Inventors Hall of Fame honors the innovation game-changers who have transformed our world,” said NIHF CEO Michael Oister. “Through inventions as diverse as life-saving medicines and web browsers for the visually impaired, these superhero innovators have made significant advances in our daily lives and well-being.”

Sprague earned a bachelor’s degree from Franklin College in 1930 and went on to earn a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.  The college also awarded him an honorary doctorate of science in 1954.  He did postdoctoral work at Yale University and later worked at Merck Sharpe and Dohme.  He was responsible for 27 United States patents and several foreign patents for the Merck Co., Inc. Sprague died in 2000 at the age of 91.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate. For more information, visit

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Franklin College is a liberal arts and sciences college in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, about 20 miles from downtown Indianapolis. Our small class size allows students to thrive through personal interactions and individual mentorship. In addition, our liberal arts curriculum offers transformative opportunities that translate into empowered perspectives and real-world jobs. Our professors, faculty-advocates, challenge students to stretch beyond easy answers and become leaders in their fields. At the end of the day, we are self-motivated lifelong learners who relentlessly pursue the best in ourselves and in our community. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.

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