Photo by Webb Chappell

Legendary venture capitalist and philanthropist Bill Bowes (MBA 1952) passed away on December 28.

Bowes founded San Francisco’s US Venture Partners in 1981 and helped shape some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, including Sun Microsystems and Amgen, where he was the founding shareholder and the company’s first chairman and treasurer. Reflecting on his more than 50 years in the industry, he told the Bulletin in 2009 that the qualities that best define a successful entrepreneur are “intelligence, desire, and unrelenting forward motion.”

His nonprofit work included instrumental efforts at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute as well as service on the advisory committee for the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics.

Bowes was named an HBS Alumni Achievement Award winner in 2009, and his gift to the School in 2012 helped establish a chair named in honor of his close friend Howard Stevenson (MBA 1965, DBA 1969).

“Bill Bowes was a visionary leader who spent his career helping others move forward, making extraordinary contributions to the worlds of business, medicine, and education,” said Dean Nitin Nohria. “He was an inspiration to our students and a true friend to the School. His wisdom and leadership will be greatly missed by the HBS community.”


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