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Lemann Donates to Engineering and Entrepreneurship Programs

The John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences sign stands in front of Pierce Hall.
The John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences sign stands in front of Pierce Hall. By Jacqueline S. Chea
By Sanjana L. Narayanan, Crimson Staff Writer

Jorge P. Lemann ’61, a Brazilian investor who numbers among the richest people in the world, recently made a donation to Harvard in order to support classes in entrepreneurship and engineering.

Lemann’s gift, announced Wednesday in The Harvard Gazette, will allow professors from the College, Harvard Business School, and the School for Engineering and Applied Sciences to work together to create new pilot courses. To a similar end, the donation—the exact amount of which remains undisclosed—endows a new professorship aimed at developing classes with a focus on entrepreneurship.

“I’m proud to help Harvard students from all areas of the globe learn how to be future entrepreneurs,” Lemann said to the Gazette, a publication run by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications. “Business and innovation is what makes the world such a dynamic place, and I am excited to see what Harvard students will accomplish next.”

SEAS Dean Francis J. Doyle III said Lemann’s contribution will be especially beneficial to the University given growing interest in engineering disciplines and the upcoming expansion of SEAS into Allston.

“The future prosperity of our society depends on innovation and entrepreneurship, which will likely blossom in the boundaries between traditional disciplines,” wrote Astronomy Department Chair Abraham “Avi” Loeb in an emailed statement. “Jorge Lemann’s gift will promote the related skills in Harvard's students and make it easier for them to become the future leaders of progress.”

Paul B. Bottino, executive director of innovation education at SEAS, said Lemann’s contribution will advance the University’s ongoing efforts in the area of technology-based entrepreneurship. He cited the Harvard College Innovation Challenge, the formation of the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, and the Harvard Innovation Labs as examples.

“Mr. Lemann’s gift promises to be a step-change advancement in our innovation and entrepreneurship education efforts! Since we initiated Harvard’s undergraduate I&E education in 2000 with the creation of TECH and ES139 (Innovation in Science and Engineering), we’ve consistently been building out resources and courses for undergraduates,” Bottino wrote in an emailed statement.

Lemann is a perennial Harvard donor. This donation marks the latest in a series of gifts to the University through the Lemann Foundation, which provides financial aid to students from Brazil.

The Foundation also initiated the Brazil Research Fund, which finances research endeavors between Brazilian and Harvard professors, particularly those related to education.

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