Carnegie Mellon University

June 11, 2015

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:

I am delighted to announce the creation of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, which will serve as a hub for campus-wide entrepreneurial activities. This new initiative is made possible by a $31 million gift from alumnus James R. Swartz (MSIA’66), a distinguished entrepreneur and founding partner of the global venture capital firm Accel Partners.

Along with his wife, Susan L. Swartz, Jim has been a generous and deeply committed supporter of the university. His latest gift, the fifth largest in university history, includes $13 million in permanent university endowment, which in combination with other resources will support Presidential Scholarships and Fellowships for students, a faculty chair, entrepreneurs-in-residence, an executive director and staff for the center. 

An additional $18 million will be directed to a number of programmatic and infrastructure projects over the next four years. This includes the $10 million committed last year for the creation of space for entrepreneurship activities in the new business school building in the David A. Tepper Quadrangle. The remaining $8 million, leveraged with additional support, will fund infrastructure development at several other locations across campus, new campus-wide curriculum development, a new fund to seed ideas across CMU’s colleges and schools, and community outreach to engage local secondary schools in entrepreneurship learning opportunities. 

Jim’s philanthropy is matched by the extraordinary vision, experience and time he gives to the university. His investment in Carnegie Mellon promises to have a transformational effect, both in nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs — his life’s work — and building on the university’s strengths in research and education at the crossroads of different academic fields and disciplines. 

The establishment of the Swartz Center benefited from the recommendations of a campus-wide working group of CMU faculty and staff.  I am grateful to this Innovation and Entrepreneurship Action Plan Workgroup whose members included:  Lenore Blum, Peter Boatwright, Marcel Bruchez, Jonathan Cagan, Robert Dammon (co-chair), Farnam Jahanian (co-chair), Philip Lehman, Dave Mawhinney, Matthew Sanfilippo, V. Emily Stark, Lauren Ward and Robert Wooldridge.

With its university-wide scope, the Swartz Center and its executive director will report to the provost and will serve as the hub that seamlessly connects and incorporates a number of ongoing efforts through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the James R. Swartz Fellows Program, the Innovation Fellows Program, Project Olympus, LaunchCMU and the Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund, as well as related workshops, competitions and training programs.

For more information on the center and on Jim, please see:

Please join me in expressing our deepest gratitude to Jim and Susan for their generosity and ongoing commitment to Carnegie Mellon University.


Subra Suresh