Business & Entrepreneurship
Gerry Lenfest Named Drexel’s Business Leader of the Year
H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, celebrated Philadelphia media entrepreneur, newspaper publisher and philanthropist, was named the 61st Business Leader of the Year by Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. He will be honored at a luncheon celebrating his achievements in the business and philanthropic fields on April 20.
Lenfest currently serves as the owner and publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. He bought the publications’ parent company, Interstate General Media, in 2014 to strengthen the future of Philadelphia’s free press. Previously, he launched, built and later sold his cable company Lenfest Communications to the Comcast Corporation in 2000. It was one of the twelve-largest cable companies in the nation at the time.
With his wife Marguerite, Lenfest has been a longtime supporter of many charitable causes over the years, both personally and through The Lenfest Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2000 and through most of its history focused on education, art and the environment. Significant initiatives include the Lenfest College Scholarship Program for students from 14 rural Pennsylvania public high schools and the Lenfest Ocean Program which funds research to help protect the world’s oceans. Recently The Lenfest Foundation changed its mission to focus on disadvantaged youth in Philadelphia and Lenfest created and funded a new foundation to continue the Lenfest College Scholarship Program.
Other local organizations that have benefited from the Lenfests’ support include the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Curtis Institute of Music. Lenfest currently serves on the Temple University Board of Trustees, and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and is Chairman of the Board of the upcoming Museum of the American Revolution.
According to Drexel President John A. Fry, these charitable and philanthropic endeavors perfectly encapsulate why Lenfest is the perfect role model for LeBow students.
“He and Marguerite turned to their real work, returning the rewards of their success to society through philanthropy that spans opportunity, education, the environment, arts and culture and wherever else they see a need in our communities,” Fry said.
Lenfest’s activism has led him to be named “one of the contemporary founding fathers of Philadelphia” by Philanthropy Magazine. LeBow College Dean Frank Linnehan, PhD, agrees that Lenfest’s support of local organizations has helped Philadelphia and Philadelphians for years.
“Generations of people from Philadelphia and beyond will experience the positive impact of Lenfest giving,” Linnehan said.
Drexel previously celebrated Lenfest’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic achievements by granting him an honorary doctoral degree in 2013, awarded to those who encourage a standard of excellence that is exemplary to students and society.
Drexel’s LeBow College of Business has named a Business Leader of the Year every year since 1954. More recent award winners include real estate investment guru Ira M. Lubert, co-founder of Independent Capital Partners, and Al West, founding CEO of SEI Investments Co.
The 2015 Business Leader of the Year luncheon honoring Lenfest will take place on Mon., April 20 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Hyatt at The Bellevue. Tickets are available at this site until April 17.