ShareThis Page
College & Career

Carnegie Mellon receives $10M gift from alum who runs global tech company

Natasha Lindstrom
| Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, 3:39 p.m.
Alumni Denee Benton, Glen de Vries (center) and Luis von Ahn discuss founding lessons and disrupting fields during a panel at Carnegie Mellon University's 50th anniversary celebration in October 2017.
COURTESY OF CMU
Alumni Denee Benton, Glen de Vries (center) and Luis von Ahn discuss founding lessons and disrupting fields during a panel at Carnegie Mellon University's 50th anniversary celebration in October 2017.

The co-founder of a global health care technology company says Carnegie Mellon University made such a profound impact on him two decades ago that he's giving his alma mater $10 million today.

Glen de Vries, a New York native and 1994 graduate of the Mellon College of Science, is co-founder and president of the New York-based firm Medidata , which specializes in improving clinical trials and medical research through its cloud-based platform and software.

The $10 million endowed deanship he's funding marks a "transformational gift" that will bolster CMU's teaching and research opportunities, expand interdisciplinary initiatives and help recruit top students and faculty, university officials announced Tuesday.

De Vries said in a statement that he considers it "an incredible privilege to support the university" thanks to the personal and professional guidance he gleaned there.

The school is creating the Glen de Vries Dean's Chair position in his honor.

Rebecca Doerge, who has served as dean of the Mellon College of Science since fall 2016, will be the first to fill the newly endowed deanship. Doerge, a former head of the department of statistics at Purdue University in Indiana, described de Vries as "quintessentially CMU" for combining expertise across multiple disciplines with an entrepreneurial spirit to solve problems.

"Glen has built an extraordinary career at the intersection of science, business and medicine, and his work has revolutionized how we conduct medical research," Mellon College of Science interim President Farnam Jahanian said in a statement.

After earning a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and genetics from CMU, de Vries worked as a research scientist at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and studied computer science at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics.

In 1999, De Vries started Medidata with just two employees. The life sciences technology company has grown to about 2,000 employees in 14 locations worldwide and drawn increased attention from stock analysts in recent months.

Previously, de Vries contributed to CMU through endowing a presidential fellowship in biological sciences. He also has served on the university president's Global Advisory Council and returned to the campus in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood for guest lectures and visits. Most recently, he served as a panelist during CMU's 50th anniversary celebration and homecoming weekend in October.

As of last June, CMU's total endowment topped $1.7 billion . Endowed funds contributed about $68 million to university operations last year, or about 6 percent of the annual budget.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me