Loeb House

Loeb House south entrance
John L. Loeb Sr. portrait

John L. Loeb Sr.

Loeb House was named in honor of John L. Loeb Sr. and his close ties and devotion to the School.

One of 16 buildings in the original 1920s McKim, Mead & White campus plan, the three-story building now known as Loeb House was constructed in 1940 as faculty office space. The Georgian Revival-style, stucco and brick facility has been repurposed several times and was renovated in the 1960s and again in 1985, when it became the first building on campus to be wired for networked personal computers. In 2016 Loeb House was renovated and updated to improve sustainability. The building’s facade was restored and repairs were made to the exterior stucco, bricks, and wood trim. A new granite landing was added to the front entry, with steps and a historical iron railing, to allow safer access to the building. New walkways were added that allow rain to be filtered into the ground, reducing the amount of polluted storm water to the Charles River. The renovations also incorporated lighting upgrades to reduce energy usage, such as installation of high-efficiency LED light fixtures and additional occupancy sensors to reduce environmental impact of spaces when not in use. The updates enhanced and revitalized the building while reducing its environmental impact.

Loeb House has been repurposed several times, but has primarily been used for administrative offices since the 1985 renovations. In 2004, it became home to the C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning, established to promote and support teaching excellence and innovation at HBS and at institutions around the globe. The center is named for a longtime HBS faculty member, the late C. Roland (“Chris”) Christensen (MBA 1943, DCS 1953), one of the founders of the field of business strategy and the world’s leading authority on case-method teaching. The Christensen Center was permanently endowed by gifts from a large group of dedicated alumni in tribute to Professor Christensen.

About the Name

Loeb House was named in 1988 in recognition of the School’s close ties to John L. Loeb Sr. (1902-1996) and his son, the Honorable John L. Loeb Jr. (MBA 1954). The senior Loeb was an investment banker, a philanthropist, and one of the most loyal and active alumni in Harvard University’s history. A 1924 Harvard College graduate, Loeb and his father, Carl M. Loeb, founded the New York investment banking and brokerage firm Carl M. Loeb & Company, later called Loeb, Rhoades & Co., where John Loeb served as a senior partner from 1955 to 1977. He was widely regarded as a leader in the investment community and as a philanthropist who supported many New York-area schools, museums, and hospitals, along with his wife, Frances Lehman Loeb.

Loeb’s deep devotion to Harvard was noted at the time of his death by Harvard University President Neil L. Rudenstine, who said, “Harvard University has lost the friend of a lifetime.” Loeb’s interests encompassed several schools, including HBS, which received a substantial gift from his company in 1966 to create the John L. Loeb Fellowship Fund, awarded annually to the top students in finance, as well as the funds needed to renovate the building that now bears the family’s name. Loeb participated in Harvard’s governance as a member of the Board of Overseers, from 1962 to 1968, and more than a dozen visiting committees. He provided leadership for numerous University and individual school campaigns. His funding of many associate, assistant and junior professorships at the Faculty of Arts and Science was one of the endeavors he cared most about. Another initiative dear to both John and Frances Loeb’s hearts was the Loeb Fellowship program at the Graduate School of Design. This prestigious, one year fellowship program has for five decades has offered emerging leaders in the field an opportunity to come to Harvard and Boston for independent study, reflection and engagement.

In addition to Loeb House on the HBS campus, several buildings at Harvard bear the family’s name, including the Frances Lehman Loeb Library at the Graduate School of Design, the Loeb Drama Center, and the John Langeloth and Frances Lehman Loeb House on Quincy Street. Loeb House, which once served as the home of Harvard presidents, today houses Harvard’s governing boards including the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers. The first floor is decorated in 19th-century style, forming an elegant, light-filled backdrop for special occasions such as weddings and reunions as well as meetings and conferences.

Loeb’s son, John L. Loeb Jr., is a financier, philanthropist, and distinguished public servant. A 1952 Harvard College graduate, he is an Air Force veteran who served as a senior partner at Loeb, Rhoades & Co. from 1956 to 1979 and as chairman of Holly Sugar Corporation from 1969 to 1971. Currently chairman of John L. Loeb, Jr., Associates, Inc., Investment Counselors DBA Loeb Rhoades, and a member of numerous corporate boards. John Loeb Jr. also owns Russian Riverbend Vineyards, Ltd., which founded Sonoma-Loeb wines.

Throughout his career, Loeb has provided leadership to a broad array of public and private institutions. In the public realm, he was appointed US ambassador to Denmark by President Ronald Reagan and served in that role from 1981 to 1983, in addition to representing the United States as a delegate to the 38th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He is a former trustee of the Educational Testing Service and of American University, and chairman of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States, which sends young US science graduates to study for a year at Churchill College in Cambridge, England (Churchill College is primarily devoted to science). In addition, he is the founder and chairman of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, which promotes greater awareness of the historic roots of religious freedom and the separation of church and state in the United States. The George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom continues to promote these ideas at Harvard, originally with Harvard Business School and Harvard Divinity School and now with the Center for American Political Studies.