Patrick J. McGovern and CHM

Visionary

Pat didn’t see technology or his business as isolated from his community and humanity. This was his unique gift—he served as an inspiring role model for me and other entrepreneurs looking for ways to give back to society. He viewed technology in terms of how it could make the world a better place and traveled throughout the world looking for insight and inspiration to feed this passion.

— Marc Benioff, Founder and CEO, Salesforce

To honor the legacy of Patrick J. McGovern, an IT visionary, successful entrepreneur, technology journalism pioneer, global trailblazer and humanitarian, the Patrick J. McGovern for Humanity Prize at CHM celebrates changemakers at the intersection of technology and humanity who are shaping a better future.

Inspiration

When Pat was growing up in Philadelphia, one of the volumes he checked out of the library was Giant Brains, or Machines That Think by a prescient scientist named Edmund Callis Berkeley. “It was about the concept that these new computers were going to amplify the power of the human brain,” he remembered decades later. That was heady stuff for a teenager who was in love with learning. He credited it with sparking the fascination with computers and the brain that would lead to his life’s work and legacy. 

Leadership

Pat founded and built International Data Group (IDG) into a global publishing empire, including ComputerworldInfoworldPC WorldMacworld, and the Dummies series. Eventually, IDG reached 90 countries with 300 print publications, 450 websites, 750 events, and 500 research programs. Expanding beyond boundaries, he pioneered venture capital investing in China and established with his wife Lore Harp McGovern the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Symbolized by his flying 250,000 miles a year to meet people from IDG staff to government leaders in their own locale, Pat exemplified an uncommon vision and passion for building a better future for the lives of individuals and humanity around the world.   

Service

In 1982, when the first incarnation of CHM was established in Boston as a public non-profit called The Computer Museum, Pat McGovern was an original member of the 18-person board, alongside museum cofounders Gordon and Gwen Bell and other IT pioneers, such as Bob Noyce, inventor of the IC and Intel cofounder. Pat was a generous supporter and active participant in Museum programs.

For example, Pat was the captain of the East Coast team in the second annual Computer Bowl hosted by the Computer Museum in Boston in 1990. The computer trivia contest pitted the East Coast against the West Coast, and Pat’s team included Bob Frankston, William Foster, Edward Friedkin, Russell Planjizer. The West Coast team was made up of John Doerr, Bill Gates, Stewart Alsop, Chuck House, and Larry Tesler. Mitch Kapor was the guest questioner and the host was Stewart Cheifet. (Watch videos of the competition: Part I, and Part II.)

In the four decades since the Computer Bowl, CHM has grown to become the leading museum exploring the computing past, digital present, and future impact of technology on humanity. CHM decodes technology for everyone to shape a better future. From the heart of Silicon Valley, we share insights gleaned from our research, our events, and our incomparable collection of computing artifacts and oral histories to convene, inform, and inspire people to build a better world. (See computerhistory.org) 

Legacy

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation carries on the legacy of Patrick J. McGovern’s optimism and belief that technology can be a force for good. A global, 21st century philanthropy, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is committed to bridging the frontiers of artificial intelligence, data science, and social impact.

In partnership with the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, CHM is proud to serve as the home of the Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize. 

Pat McGovern in the Archives

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