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Mary Sauer and Bob Doris (MBA 1977/JD 1978)

HBS’s focus on innovation connected Bob Doris (MBA 1977/JD 1978) and Mary Sauer more deeply with the School. “We are very impressed with the work HBS is doing to foster a startup culture at the School and across Harvard,” says Doris.

For the past five years, Doris and Sauer have served as judges for IPO Day, where first-year MBA students pitch the microbusinesses they have developed as part of the required Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD) course. They also serve as advisors to student teams at the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab).

Doris and Sauer were a natural fit for these roles. In 1986, they left Lucasfilm to found Sonic Solutions, where they developed and marketed audio signal processing, professional sound editing, and later DVD and digital video products. They led the company for 25 years, through an IPO and sale to Rovi Corporation. In 2011, the pair created Accanto Partners to provide seed funding to promising new startups, including Catalant Technologies Inc. (formerly HourlyNerd), which was conceived as a FIELD project and incubated at the i-lab.

Doris says that HBS was a turning point in his life. Originally pursuing a career in law, during his first year at Harvard Law School he applied to the joint degree program with HBS at the last minute. “I discovered that I really enjoyed business school, and HBS opened up a whole range of possibilities for me,” he says.

Recently the couple established the Clare Marie Doris Doctoral Fellowship Fund to provide financial aid for HBS doctoral students. The fund is named in honor of their first daughter, who died at 16 months from a rare pediatric liver disease.

California-based Doris and Sauer chose to support the Doctoral Programs because they believe strong teachers and researchers are essential to creating future leaders. “HBS has one of the most respected doctoral programs in the world, and we felt we could have the greatest impact by supporting those students,” explains Sauer, who also holds an MBA. “It also gives us a meaningful way to honor our daughter Clare.”

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1977, Section D

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