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Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneurship Expert Felda Hardymon to be Commencement Speaker

April 17, 2013

G. Felda Hardymon, PhD, one of the world’s notable experts in entrepreneurship education and venture capital, will receive an honorary doctorate degree and address members of Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2013 during commencement exercises on May 25.

  Passing Along Advice: G. Felda Hardymon, a partner with Bessemer Venture Partners and educator at the Harvard Business School and London School of Economics, gave a special lecture to Rose-Hulman students during a campus visit in December. He is a 1969 mathematics alumnus. (Photo by Dale Long)

A 1969 Rose-Hulman mathematics alumnus, Hardymon is a partner with Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), one of the oldest venture firms (founded in 1911) and now a global organization with $1.6 billion under management. He has led Bessemer Venture Partners’ investment with a number of young companies in the software, communications, and retail sectors. Since 1998, Hardymon also has taught and conducted research at Harvard Business School, and is currently a visiting professor of finance at the London School of Economics.

Hardymon has been named several times to the Forbes Midas 100 List of Venture Capitalists who possess the proverbial “golden touch” and is co-author of the bestseller “Venture Capital and Private Equity.”

“Felda has his finger on the pulse on what’s happening in technology and engineering on a global scale, and will inspire our graduates to make a difference in these areas,” says Interim President Robert A. Coons. “We can expect extraordinary personal insight from one of the world’s leading venture capitalists during his commencement address.”

Hardymon led Bessemer Venture Partners’ startup investments for office-supply company Staples and sporting-goods chain The Sports Authority that were the initial investments for the firm’s retail practice. He has also led BVP’s investment in superconducting materials company American Superconductor; telecommunications providers Cascade Communications and Sirocco; Celcore, a maker of switches for wireless-telephone networks; African telecommunications provider Celtel; Parametric Technology Corp.; and Axis Networks, a 4G  wireless-remote radio head supplier.

“Investors back people who want to do something. The idea is always cheap. The execution is really hard. Investors fuel execution, not ideas,” shared Hardymon during a December visit to Rose-Hulman, where he gave a special lecture to students.

Prior to joining Bessemer, Hardymon worked at BDSI, the original venture subsidiary of General Electric, which invested in Ungermann-Bass, Stratus Computer and Western Digital. Prior to that, he taught mathematics and served as director of systems and research at Duke University, where he earned master and doctorate degrees. He also has a master’s of business administration from Harvard.

Harydmon will be addressing members of Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2013 and their families, along with  members of the board of trustees, faculty, and staff during the 135th commencement in the field house of the Sports and Recreation Center.