2021: John Legend (C’99, HON’14)
Critically acclaimed, multi-award winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter John Legend has garnered ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and a Golden Globe, among others. He is also a coach on The Voice.
For well over a decade, John Legend’s philanthropy and advocacy has focused on building just, equitable, and thriving communities. In 2007, Legend started The Show Me Campaign, to give every child access to a quality education as well as address systemic issues in our criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities, and disadvantaged.
Legend launched LRNG Innovators in partnership with The National Writing Project and support from The MacArthur Foundation. LRNG Innovators’ mission is to empower teachers to redesign learning—connecting students’ passion to purpose— helping the students of today be better prepared for the world of tomorrow. Since inception, LRNG Innovators has invested in more than 30 educator teams across the country who are building tomorrow’s education system today.
In 2014, Legend launched FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration. FREEAMERICA works to amplify the voices of those impacted by the criminal justice system and those working to change it in an effort to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and end the era of mass incarceration.
John graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on African-American literature at the University of Pennsylvania.
2019: Amy Errett, WG'88
Amy’s multifaceted career has ranged from founding and operating companies, to investing in startups, to volunteer nonprofit leadership. Currently, Amy is CEO and Founder of Madison Reed, an omnichannel beauty brand that is challenging industry titans in the hair color space. She is also a Partner at True Ventures, focusing on investments in consumer and ecommerce startups.
Prior to founding Madison Reed, Amy was a General Partner responsible for the Bay Area office of Maveron, a leading venture capital firm focused on the consumer sector.
Amy believes in the power of giving back and dedicates herself to supporting humanitarian organizations. She currently serves on the boards of the University of Connecticut Foundation, Common Sense Media, The Bay School, and Madison Reed.
Amy earned an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in liberal arts from the University of Connecticut.
2018: Marc Lore, Wharton Alumnus
Marc Lore is president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S. He was appointed in September 2016 to lead U.S. e-commerce when his company Jet.com was acquired by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Prior to Walmart, Marc founded and served as CEO of Jet.com, growing to a 1 billion gross merchandise value run rate in its first year before being acquired by Walmart. Prior to Jet, Marc was the co-founder and CEO of Quidsi, the parent company of e-commerce websites Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com and more. The company was founded in 2005 and sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. Marc’s industry accolades include E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year regional winner and Fortune’s “smartest people in technology.” He graduated from Bucknell University, where he received a B.A. in Business Management and Economics, graduating cum laude. Marc also attended the Wharton MBA Program.
View the slideshow from our 8th Annual Entrepreneurship Alumni Dinner here.
2017: Andy Rachleff, W’80
Andy Rachleff, W’80 was a co-founder and General Partner of Benchmark Capital. Upon his retirement from Benchmark, Andy joined the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to teach a variety of courses on technology entrepreneurship. In 2011 he co-founded Wealthfront Inc. where he now serves as President & CEO. Prior to his 10 years at Benchmark Capital, Andy spent 10 years with Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre (MPAE). Andy serves as trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, a member of its executive committee and Chairman of its endowment investment committee. He also sits on the board of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation with whom he and his wife partnered to provide funding for early career investigators to conduct high risk/high reward research to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. He founded Wealthfront, in order to, in his own words, “democratize access to sophisticated financial advice.” In September 2017, Andy sat down for a conversation with Karl Ulrich, Wharton’s Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
2015: Josh Kopelman, W’93
Josh Kopelman W’93 founded First Round in 2004 to reinvent seed-stage investing. Since that time the firm has invested in nearly 300 emerging technology startups, becoming one of the most active venture capital firms in the country. A serial entrepreneur, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation in 1992, while he was an undergraduate at Wharton—and took it public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1996. Josh founded Half.com in July of 1999, and led it to become one of the largest sellers of used books, movies and music in the world. Half.com was acquired by eBay in July 2000. In late 2003 Josh helped to found TurnTide, an anti-spam company that created the world’s first anti-spam router. TurnTide was acquired by Symantec just six months later.
2014: Mark Pincus, W’88
Mark Pincus, W’88 is Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Zynga, driving the company toward a mission of connecting the world through games.Mark founded the company in 2007 and served as CEO for six years and CPO for seven years.Since its founding, more than one billion people in 200 countries across web and mobile platforms have played and connected through Zynga games. Games such as FarmVille and Words With Friends have become a part of people’s daily lives. The way we play games, for fun, education, or social good, has been profoundly changed by Mark Pincus. He exemplifies the qualities we seek to honor with the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award.
2013: Jeff Weiner, W’92
Jeff Weiner, W’92 is CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest and most powerful network of professionals. He joined the company in December 2008, and under his leadership, LinkedIn has rapidly expanded its global platform to 19 languages and 26 offices around the world, grown its membership base from 33 million to more than 200 million members and increased its revenue more than tenfold to $972 million in 2012. Without Jeff Weiner, our day-to-day online activities, at work and at play, would be a vastly different experience.
2012: Rick Thompson, WG’96
Serial entrepreneur Rick Thompson WG’96 launched his first business, FlyCast, as a Wharton student. He has since founded and exited businesses valued at over $1.5 billion, including on-line advertising company Adify, social gaming company Playdom, and mobile gaming Funzio, and invested in dozens of ventures such as Wild Needle, Idle Games, Red Robot Labs, Grand Cru, Rumble Entertainment, Project Slice, Fun+, Airy Labs, Noise Toys, Viki, Social Shield, Udemy, Triangluate, AdHina, and Iddictuion. He is one of the most active investors in games and gaming companies in the world.