BOSTON—William J. Poorvu, the MBA Class of 1961 Adjunct Professor in Entrepreneurship Emeritus at Harvard Business School (HBS), has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. Poorvu joins 63 other new members chosen from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts.
“Election to the Academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”
An expert in real estate, Poorvu helped define the real estate course offerings at HBS for 35 years. He was the school's first adjunct professor starting in 1981, its first adjunct professor with a named chair, and the first non-tenured professor at Harvard University to be given emeritus status. He was a member of the active HBS faculty from 1973 until 2002.
He is the author of several books on real estate, including Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth: The 4 Stages to a Lifetime of Success and The Real Estate Game - The Intelligent Guide to Decision-Making and Investment.
Poorvu received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1956 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1958.
In addition to his academic accomplishments, Poorvu has been the managing partner in a number of private real estate companies. He was also the co-founder, vice chair and treasurer of Boston Broadcasters, Inc., and was a co-founder and chair of The Baupost Group L.L.C., a Boston-based investment firm, where he currently serves as co-chair of its board of advisors.
Among his community activities, Poorvu is a life trustee and former vice chair and treasurer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a trustee and treasurer of the Gardner Museum, and vice chair of the National Public Radio Foundation. He has chaired or cochaired the investment committees of all three organizations. He is also a member of the Carnegie Corporation investment committee and a former member of the Yale University investment committee and Yale’s University Council. He has served on various government commissions, including the State Department's Overseas Presence Advisory Panel.
Other HBS members of the Academy of Arts & Sciences are Senior Lecturer Robert F. Higgins, Professor Jay Lorsch, and Professors Emeriti H. Kent Bowen, James I. Cash Jr., Michael C. Jensen, John W. Pratt, and Howard Raiffa.