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Venture Capitalist Gives HBS $25 Mil.

By Wendy D. Widman, Crimson Staff Writer

A venture capitalist who pioneered the startups of Apple and Intel, Arthur Rock knows a thing or two about getting fledgling enterprises off the ground.

Now, with a historic gift to the Harvard Business School (HBS), he’s aiming to give a venture capitalist boost to the field of entrepreneurship as a whole.

A $25 million donation, announced last Thursday, will endow the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, which will help to educate the venture capitalists of the future.

Rock’s gift is the largest donation directed towards a single academic program since HBS’ founding in 1908 and builds on a historic strength.

“Harvard Business School has long been at the forefront in understanding the many facets of the entrepreneurial process—from the intricacies of finance to the art of leadership—and I am delighted to be able to do something that supports those efforts,” Rock said in a press release.

Rock, who graduated from HBS in 1951, and classmate Fayez S. Sarofim funded the school’s first professorship in the field of entrepreneurship in 1981. The school sought to establish entrepreneurship as a core component of business education.

Rock explained the importance of the field.

“The future of the nation lies with new ventures,” Rock said. “They supply the new projects, the new technologies and the new jobs.”

Howard Stevenson, who has held the Sarofim-Rock chair since its founding, praised Rock for his generosity and sound business sense.

“If someone came to Arthur and said they wanted to make money, he would say he is not interested,” Stevenson said. “But if someone says they want to build the foundation of a good company, Rock would help that person.”

The Rock Center will support both faculty projects and provide fellowships for students interested in venture capital.

“The gift enables us to maintain a fast pace of course development and provide new resources as the nature of opportunity and resources in the business world changes,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson hopes that the gift will allow the schools’ programs to have reach beyond the walls of HBS.

“We are hoping to carry the message further and develop a new emphasis on venture capitalism on a broader scale,” he said.

Rock, a graduate of Syracuse University, earned his MBA from HBS in 1951 and after graduation began his business career as a security analyst in New York City.

In 1968 Rock formed his own company, and over the course of four decades has established himself as a key player in the world of high-tech ventures, netting himself an appearance on the cover of Time magazine in 1984.

—Staff writer Wendy D. Widman can be reached at widman@fas.harvard.edu.

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