Silicon Valley VC Gives $10 Million To Tepper

Image of Jim Swartz against a white background.

James Swartz, co-founder of Accel Partners

Who says Silicon Alley’s venture capitalists aren’t all that keen on MBAs hasn’t met Jim Swartz.

Carnegie Mellon University today (Feb. 26) announced that it has received a $10 million gift from James R. and Susan S. Swartz to help support business education, cutting-edge research, learning technologies and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Jim Swartz, an alumnus (MSIA’66) of the business school, is a entrepreneur, venture capitalist and founding partner of Palo Alto-based Accel Partners. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Venture Capital Association in 2007.

Swartz’s commitment follows a $67 million gift in November from the charitable foundation of renowned investor David A. Tepper (MBA’82) to create a major new academic hub called the David A. Tepper Quadrangle, which will enable CMU to enhance undergraduate and graduate programs in business, expand opportunities for innovative research and interdisciplinary degrees, and offer a flexible technological framework that anticipates the future of learning.

These gifts will be used for the construction of a 295,000 square-foot facility in the Tepper Quad that will house a number of strategically interconnected entities, including the university’s Tepper School of Business, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The Simon Initiative and quality of life enhancements for the entire CMU community. This new facility will serve as the cornerstone for integrating elements of research and education across the university’s Pittsburgh campus.

“At Carnegie Mellon I learned to master management science, constructing business models to solve challenges that were completely new to the marketplace and unleashing the power of data for smarter business decisions,” Jim Swartz said in a statement. “Those lessons, and the skills that I developed as a result of them, have greatly benefited me throughout my entrepreneurial career.  I recognize the university’s new vision for the future of business education and entrepreneurship and I am pleased to contribute toward their efforts to the benefit of new technologies and future generations of students.”

As a director of more than 50 successful companies in five decades as a venture capitalist, Jim Swartz has been closely involved as a lead investor of numerous pioneering technology companies. He received the 2013 Tepper School Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of both his professional accomplishments and his commitment to education.

“Jim’s track record of private sector investment is awe-inspiring. He is a Silicon Valley icon, and is counted among the most successful venture capitalists worldwide,” said CMU President Subra Suresh in a statement. “Jim has also been a steadfast benefactor of the university, sharing not only his wealth, but his experience and his vision. We are grateful that he and his wife, Susan, have chosen Carnegie Mellon for this significant philanthropic investment in future generations of young entrepreneurs. This contribution will enable us to bring to life a vision for coordinated programs aimed at entrepreneurship and technology-enhanced learning for the business school and for the entire university in the interdisciplinary spirit that pervades our campus.”

The Tepper Quadrangle is the first expansion of the university’s north campus and will be located on a 4.5-acre site. It will be designed to facilitate high levels of cross-campus collaboration and bring together interdisciplinary initiatives, including entrepreneurship and technology-enhanced learning. The quadrangle also will enable the university to leverage connections between business and other highly ranked campus programs, such as engineering, computer science, energy, design and life sciences. This will aid in accelerating the transfer of new technologies into the marketplace, creating new integrated degree programs and expanding new research and education opportunities.

“Jim is an active mentor and influential leader at the Tepper School of Business,” added Robert M. Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business. “He is a pioneer in the world of entrepreneurship, creating order out of chaos, allowing new technologies to develop and flourish in the marketplace. The new home for our business school will enable an expansion of entrepreneurship across the university campus and will allow us to expand the possibilities for innovative research and interdisciplinary degrees and provide a flexible technological framework that anticipates the needs of next-generation learning.”

Jim Swartz is an inaugural member of the Tepper School’s Business Board of Advisers and is the benefactor of the James R. Swartz Leadership Scholarship, awarded to first-year MBA students who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential. He also is the benefactor of the Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program, which provides students with coaching, coursework in entrepreneurship, networking and mentored internships with top-tier, venture-backed startups within the high-tech, high-growth environment of Silicon Valley.


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