Glenn Rifkin On The Legacy Of IDG Founder Patrick McGovern
One of the most influential media empires in the world can be traced back to the late Patrick McGovern, an MIT graduate working out of a house in Newton.
He would develop the tech media company International Data Group — IDG — in 1964.
IDG would eventually publish hundreds of IT magazines around the world, including Computer World and PC World.
Author Glenn Rifkin worked for McGovern as an editor at Computer World during the 1980s and has a new book out called "Future Forward," examining the legacy of McGovern's work, featured on Morning Edition.
Podcast: Glenn Rifkin author of ‘Future Forward’ book about Patrick McGovern
CBS News Tech Analyst Larry Magid sits down with Glenn Rifkin, author of Future Forward: Leadership Lessons from Patrick McGovern, the Visionary Who Circled the Globe and Built a Technology Media Empire.
Although not as famous as some leaders, McGovern, who died in 2014, was an incredibly important leader in the world of computing and computer publishing. He had an impact on thousands of people, including myself and his biographer Glenn Rifkin who chronicled McGovern’s professional life not just as a way to memorialize a man but to understand the principles behind his success and his impact on those who he influenced.
This 35 minute interview is worth a listen not just for those who want to learn more about McGovern, but anyone who wants to learn about what it takes to be a leader.
''Future Forward'' Examines A Tech Titan You May Never Have Heard Of
International Data Group, IDG, is known as one of the most influential media empires in the world, but was started out of MIT graduate Patrick McGovern's house in Newton in 1964.
International Data Group, IDG, is known as one of the most influential media empires in the world, but was started out of MIT graduate Patrick McGovern's house in Newton in 1964. Author Glenn Rifkin, who worked for McGovern as an editor at Computer World in the 1980s, examines his late boss's legacy in his new book, "Future Forward."
On who Patrick McGovern was
"He was the entrepreneur and visionary who started a company called International Data Group, IDG. And what he saw was that the information technology revolution was getting started in the early '60s, it was slow and steady. But he saw something bigger happening, and over those years he decided that somebody needed to tell the story of this revolution. It was one thing to be the Bill Gates or the Thomas Watson Jr., who made things — the software and the hardware. But somebody needed to chronicle what was going on, and that was his mission.
"He created actually nearly 300 publications around the world over the course of 50 years running the company. The first publication was Computerworld, which became the Bible of the information technology industry. ... It was news, weekly news, it was product reviews and things like that, but mostly it was taking a look at the people and players in the industry, the companies that were moving and shaking. They were big in covering IBM in the late '60s into the '70s when they were the 800-pound gorilla in the industry space, and as it moved along, as the industry changed — the personal computer was created in the 1980s — Computerworld be the newspaper of record, so to speak. It was kind of the New York Times of the computer industry."
On working for McGovern at Computerworld
"I joined in 1983. At the time, [I] didn't know a computer from a washing machine. If I could turn on the on switch, I was happy. Never dreamed of getting involved in the technology industry. But I got a job there at a time when jobs were a little bit scarce, and ended up just loving it, because something really exciting was happening. I started interviewing Bill Gates and Steve Jobs before The New York Times and Wall Street Journal did. So I was right there, as I say in the book, at the tip of my keyboard, things were happening. And I stayed there for seven years, during which time I got to know Pat McGovern."
"It was one thing to be the Bill Gates or the Thomas Watson Jr., who made things — the software and the hardware. But somebody needed to chronicle what was going on, and that was his mission." Glenn Rifkin
On how McGovern interacted with his employees
"There's lots of visionaries, lots of entrepreneurs out there who've done great things. But Pat had a very unique style of management and leadership, which is what the book is about. He saw the world differently. He didn't need to be in the spotlight. What he wanted was to fulfill a mission, and one of the keys to him to fulfill this mission was to treat his employees around the world in a way that most companies didn't.
"This was a guy, for example, at the holidays, he would go around to every office in the United States — we're talking about 5,000 people at the time — he would go to every desk, he would meet and greet every employee. He knew if you had worked there before and he'd seen you the year before, he not only remembered your name, he knew your wife's name, he knew how many kids you had. He would congratulate you on some project that you did, and he would thank you for the contributions you were making to the company. And then he would hand you a holiday card, which was stuffed with cash, a holiday bonus, and people were blown away by this. ... This need, this desire to make a connection to every employee, I mean I can't think of another CEO who did that."
On McGovern's willingness to give people a long time to try things out and experiment
"One of Pat's mottoes, one of the actual corporate values, the 10 corporate values of the company, is, 'Let's try it.' His idea was that great ideas were going to emanate from everywhere and anywhere inside the company. If somebody was smart enough to come up with the idea, could make a case for the idea, he said, 'Let's try it.' And he would give you some funding and he would let you go with it. It created numerous publications, it created numerous opportunities.
"One of the great stories that came from that attitude was the 'For Dummies' books, those are from him. ... They started a book division, and they had this gentleman named John Kilcullen who'd come in, the division wasn't doing well at all, he remembered a story about a friend who was at a computer store back in the '80s and asked the clerk, 'Listen I need a book about this MS-DOS thing. But I don't know anything. It's got to be something like "DOS for Dummies." ' And Kilcullen remembered that title, suggested to McGovern, 'Let's do a series of books about this,' and McGovern thought, 'Well, we're insulting our readers if we're calling them dummies.' And Kilcullen said, 'No. What we're doing is' — this is pre-YouTube, pre-internet — 'we can give them really reasonable instructions on how to be smart about technology, because technology is complicated.' So they went with that, and the 'For Dummies' books became this remarkable global brand. I mean, literally two or three thousand titles in print."
Book Excerpt: 'Future Forward' by Glenn Rifkin
By Christmas of 1983, I had been working at Computerworld for nearly a full year. For a technology neophyte, this immersion into the exploding computer industry was astonishing. A revolution was underway as personal computers, networks, and powerful new software applications were fueling a shift in both the business and personal sides of this world. Computers were moving from glass enclosed data centers to individual desktops, and the implications were enormous. Being at Computerworld, widely considered the bible of the technology information marketplace, was a fortuitous happenstance, a front-row perch from which to observe and meet the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Thomas Watson Jr., Ken Olsen, Mitchell Kapor, and other industry heavyweights intent on changing the world.
This was before the advent of Apple’s Macintosh, Microsoft’s Windows, the Internet, smartphones, Wi-Fi, broadband, and the flood of technology-driven upheaval around the globe. But you could feel the earth moving, and there wasn’t any doubt that something big was happening right at the tip of your keyboard. For journalists like me, whose careers were birthed when electric typewriters and Wite-Out were de facto tools of the trade, this new era was exhilarating.
Inside Computerworld, on a wintry afternoon a couple of weeks before the holidays, a buzz of a different kind was sweeping through the weekly newspaper’s editorial offices in Framingham, Massachusetts. Word got out early in the day that Patrick J. McGovern, the formidable founder and CEO of our parent company, International Data Group (IDG), was going to be making his annual holiday rounds. Although the several hundred staff members in the building were adults, the feeling could only bedescribed as giddy, a childlike sense of anticipation that reminded me of grade-school birthday parties.
I had seen McGovern in the building a few times during the year, but we had yet to meet, and he had already taken on the Paul Bunyanesque persona that turns ordinary businesspeople into celebrities. Larger than life, he was a big man who stood six feet, three inches tall and had the burly build of an NFL linebacker. He had a loud, distinctive voice and laugh that could be heard across a huge room. When we got word that Pat was in the building, work essentially ceased. We stayed at our desks in the cubicles that dotted the newsroom, feigned effort, but accomplished little as Santa in a dark blue suit and yellow tie approached.
To be clear, our excitement was not only due to the wide-eyed exuberance of celebrity worship. There was the mercenary, Pavlovian vibe that emerged with the reality that Uncle Pat, as he was fondly called, had arrived with a Brinks truck loaded with some serious dough for each of us. He was here to hand out Christmas bonuses, and though the amount was meager compared to the six-figure bonanza bonuses of Wall Street investment bankers, it was a considerable sum for blue-collar journalists, production workers, and sales staff. That year, the bonus was equal to a month’s pay, and that was a good reason to anticipate his arrival.
What made the event more memorable was the fact that McGovern, a media mogul by any measure, a wealthy, self-made visionary who transformed the technology information and research industry, handed out every envelope personally. He stopped at every desk, greeted every individual by name, shook hands, chatted about their work, their families, their dreams, and left behind a glow of good feeling that dwarfed the money and created an indelible imprint.
The fact that he did this with every employee in the company in every office in the United States was mind-boggling. By the time I joined, there were 13,000 employees around the globe and 5,000 in the United States alone. The scope of his effort, his determination to make that personal connection, spoke volumes about the man.
For those of us who had worked at other companies, the idea of the CEO personally delivering a bonus and a good word was pure fantasy. If you were lucky, you got a cooked turkey, a Swiss Army knife, or a holiday memo from the chief to the troops. The odds that the CEO would personally deliver said turkey were very slim. But Pat McGovern was a different kind of executive, an iconoclast who was driven not merely by profit but by a desire to better the lives and careers of his employees and a lifelong calling to understand technology’s impact on humanity. He was indeed on a mission.
When Pat McGovern started the company in 1964, not long out of MIT, he had a perfect combination for entrepreneurial success: an abundance of self-confidence, a prescient vision, and a wellspring of curiosity to find out what he didn’t know and spread this information around the globe. In an era when computers were giant, mysterious, unattainable machines guarded by the high priests of the data center, McGovern foresaw an immense shift in the power of these machines to impact individuals, to enhance the human brain, and to spawn a better future. That he operated in a familial manner and built an employee friendly corporate culture just added to his reputation. In the 1980s, the era in which Gordon Gekko declared, “Greed is good,” Pat McGovern chose to share the wealth. That’s not to say he wasn’t making a fortune for himself, because he was. He became a billionaire and was a regular on the Forbes list of the richest people. What he proved was that being good to his employees turned out to be a very sound business strategy.
If you were lucky enough to be part of the workforce near where IDG was headquartered in Massachusetts, the Christmas bonus was only the beginning. The company threw a lavish annual holiday party, hosted by McGovern and his wife, Lore Harp McGovern, in a ritzy downtown Boston hotel just before Christmas. Attendees brought their spouses and significant others, ate and drank and danced the night away, and some went home with door prizes of trips for two to tropical resorts, ski chalets, and Europe. Each year, McGovern and the executive team would create a holiday video to share the habitually positive corporate results and thank everyone for a job well done. Dressed as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, Batman, Ben Franklin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or James Bond, McGovern showed no reluctance to shed a little dignity for a good laugh.
News staffers went on an annual trip to resorts in the Bahamas or Puerto Rico for an “editorial meeting,” and IDG was among the first companies in the country to take advantage of federal regulations allowing employee stock ownership programs. The ESOP created a cadre of millionaires among IDG’s longest-serving employees and allowed others, such as me, to take a nice nest egg along with us when we left the company. Many who departed for jobs at rival organizations realized quickly that they’d made a mistake and returned to IDG.
What McGovern created was a large extended family. In a high powered,often cutthroat industry like high tech, it was unusual to feel part of a culture of inclusion where your CEO had your back, valued your ideas, prodded everyone to push their own envelopes, and accepted failure as a stepping-stone to achievement.
As my tenure continued, I came to learn that McGovern’s contributions far exceeded the corporate largesse. The empire he had built starting in 1964 played a major role in the evolution of computer technology around the globe. The emergence of information technology as a mainstream business topic was happening as I immersed myself in the stories of automation, desktop computing, software, networks, and a shifting computer landscape that was changing the world. I found myself covering the same people and companies as the Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Fortune, and the New York Times. Indeed, we were out ahead of all those publications because Computerworld had staked this territory nearly two decades earlier.
The tiny 1960s startup that became a global tech-media empire
IDG brought us PC World, Macworld, and other familiar brands. But first, it produced a newsletter from a house in suburban Boston.
Patrick J. McGovern (1937-2014) spent 50 years spreading information about computers and technology around the globe through publications such as PC World, Macworld, Infoworld, the Dummies books, and the company’s flagship, Computerworld. In 1964, when the company was new, the computer industry was still emerging, and McGovern’s first project was to collect some basic data about it. Glenn Rifkin’s new book, Future Forward: Leadership Lessons from Patrick McGovern, the Visionary Who Circled the Globe and Built a Technology Media Empire, chronicles McGovern’s decentralized, entrepreneurial, and highly successful approach to business. This excerpt covers the company’s earliest days and first forays into publishing.
Of all the leadership lessons he took to heart during his long career, Patrick McGovern intuitively grasped one of the most important early in his career. In order to build a successful enterprise, you have to identify a clear mission from the outset and find effective ways to share that mission with your people. Before Google and Facebook turned hiring into a science and carefully screened every new hire, McGovern pulled together an eclectic and enthusiastic group of young employees for his fledgling company in a less analytical but highly effective manner. He shared the goals and strategies, but he imparted the mission—to propagate the benefits, understanding, and acceptance of information technology around the world—through sheer determination and passion for what he was doing.
New employees got swept up by this large man with an outsized dream. For example, when he was 23 years old, Burgess Needle lived in the gray house at 355 Walnut Street in Newtonville, Massachusetts. A student at a junior college across the street, Needle rented an upstairs room from McGovern, who owned the house and had reserved the first floor for his startup, International Data Corporation (IDC). It was 1964, and McGovern was just a few years older than Needle but had the ambition of a seasoned business veteran.
On that first floor, McGovern had created his first industry report, which was essentially a census of all the mainframe computers installed in the United States. With IDC up and running, McGovern accelerated his already ambitious efforts. IDC would become celebrated for its role in counting all the world’s computers, a staple of its practice to this day. But for McGovern, this was just a beginning. He foresaw a burgeoning audience for market share data and forecasts. In order to create a steady revenue stream, he created the Gray Sheet, which found a big audience among computer makers and their corporate customers who were seeking vital information about the nascent technology landscape.
The Gray Sheet was the first publication of what would become a global publishing empire, but its humble beginnings offered a glimpse of McGovern’s tenacity in creating the mission that would drive him for the next 50 years. He wrote the newsletter himself from data gathered by a tiny staff of young part-time stringers, and his new assistant, Susan Sykes (who would soon become his wife), typed up his notes. The youthful staffers were on the phone calling the giant computer vendors and their customers to gather as much information as they could about computer installations.
In the first issue, dated March 23, 1964, McGovern laid out an impressively detailed look at the computer industry landscape, a marketplace dominated by IBM but with an array of hungry and aggressive competitors. “From all indications,” McGovern wrote, “1964 will certainly be a turning point year in the development of the American computer industry.” Indeed, as more and more corporate, government, military, and academic institutions began installing these massive computers, the information technology industry was in the midst of explosive growth. McGovern knew he was tapping into something potent and lucrative—a game-changing shift in both business and society.
The lead story trumpeted a yet-unnamed new IBM computer system, predicted to debut in April. The headline noted that IBM “Expects to Install 5000 of Its New Computer Systems in Next Five Years.” McGovern, who’d been editor of both his high school and college newspapers, boldly predicted sales of more than $3.5 billion for Big Blue over that period, a stunning figure for any manufacturer in those days. The new computer turned out to be the IBM System/360, the first “family” of small to large computers, which would transform the industry.
That first issue also promised a monthly assessment of sales from all of the computer makers, including major competitors such as Honeywell, Univac, Control Data, Burroughs, and RCA, along with critical analysis of each company’s sales efforts. Given the dearth of such vital information, he found a ready audience more than willing to pay.
“What struck me was his work ethic,” Needle, now a Vermont-based poet and librarian, recalled about McGovern. “He would be there day after day, morning till night, 16 to 18 hours, putting together the newsletter. I’d be upstairs, but one time I walked downstairs at 3 in the morning and there was Pat ready to go out for a run. He was wearing a T- shirt, running shorts, and running shoes. He said, ‘I’m too revved up. I have to work this off,’ and he went up to the track at the local high school and ran a few laps to clear his head. He came back, showered, and went right back to work. His energy was unreal.”
Needle, a liberal arts major and budding writer, had worked at a local deli, but one day the deli burned down, and he was out of a job. McGovern said, “Come work for me.” Needle responded, “I don’t know what I can do for you.” Computers and math were anathema to him. But McGovern suggested he take a generic aptitude test to see if he was qualified. Reluctantly, Needle agreed. The test got progressively more difficult as it went along, treading into logic, semantics, and other esoteric fields.
“There were 33 questions,” Needle said. “By the time I reached 28, I just stopped and said, ‘This is as far as I can go.’ Pat glanced at it and said, ‘You’re hired.'” McGovern explained that anyone who scored over 27 would be bored out of their mind by the work. Under 17 and they wouldn’t be up for it. “You had 23 correct,” he said to Needle, “so you are perfect.”
Needle joined the young company as a part-time employee. He cold-called companies up and down the Eastern Seaboard and, using a questionnaire McGovern had written, asked the data processing managers what kind of equipment they had, what they were doing with the equipment, and what their needs were. Needle wondered why these giant computer vendors would buy data from this tiny unknown startup operating in a tranquil Boston suburb. Didn’t they have their own resources to get the information? And why would data processing executives talk to him about proprietary corporate information such as their inventory of computer equipment? McGovern told him, “They’ll talk because they are proud. They’ll be delighted to share this information. These are people who don’t have the opportunity to share with anybody. You’ll have to shut them up.” And he was correct.
McGovern, reacting to his recent conversation with the CEO of Univac, only saw opportunity. “We need this information,” the Univac chief had told him, and McGovern saw quickly that he was right. His research might seem like small change to these giants, but it could spawn bountiful leads for their sales forces. It was audacious, and it worked.
His readers, who were eventually willing to pay upward of $500 a year for a subscription, were on board because the information was scarce, timely, and valuable. “I would see him on the phone with people trying to track down a rumor about a new high-speed printer or some other computer peripheral, and you could tell the person was not very forthcoming,” Needle said. “Pat would talk, tell a joke, circle back, and finally he’d smile, tap the desk, and I would think, ‘Got it.'”
A POTENT OPPORTUNITY
At age 27, McGovern displayed the kind of doggedness and risk-taking spirit that would characterize a later generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. From the first days, he understood his mission, and the company coalesced around that mission. Burgess Needle stayed with the startup for less than a year, choosing instead to pursue a literary career. But tens of thousands of others, from California to Beijing, would eventually join IDG and embrace McGovern’s mission. The people he hired learned fast, bought in, and became expert in their various industry niches. He had an almost mythical persona that attracted these young, talented writers, editors, artists, and salespeople who propelled the company to the top of the flourishing information technology media industry.
Just three years after he founded the company, in June 1967, McGovern published the first issue of Computerworld, a weekly newspaper that chronicled the news and events shaping the now mushrooming computer industry. In so doing, he took IDC into the emerging technology publishing arena, established a brand that would quickly become a dominant force in the industry, and began a period of sustained and phenomenal growth.
A scientist by nature, McGovern believed in the data. He was among the first in the computer industry to understand the value of surveying professionals in the information technology field. Computerworld emerged, not on a whim, but from listening to these early computer users voice their concerns. McGovern recalled an early research project IDC was conducting for a client to identify the sources of information for people who bought computer systems.
“We went down and interviewed about 40 people who were data center heads or computer center heads,” he said. “They were all telling us the same story. They said, ‘I get a tremendous amount of literature from the manufacturers.'” These computer makers and their marketing and advertising campaigns, replete with the biases of companies pushing their own products and agendas, seemed to be the sole source of information for prospective buyers.
“What I don’t get,'” said one data processing manager, “is visibility as to what my colleagues are doing. Because I know that they’re having the same concerns about acquiring and using this equipment effectively and well, and problems with some of the reliability of the equipment, and how to train their people. It is a shared challenge for us.”
The trigger for McGovern came next. “There isn’t anyone who keeps us connected as a community, who keeps us up to date and aware,” the manager added. “There are so many things happening, we’d really like to get high frequency information.” Hearing that, McGovern saw through the frustration and angst to a potent opportunity. A weekly newspaper, staffed with talented journalists and editors, could find a ready audience, an audience willing to pay a subscription fee to get the timely and discerning information they needed. In creating Computerworld, McGovern set a new template for his mission.
He changed the company’s name to International Data Group, split IDC into a separate research arm, and soon after, decided to legitimize the “International” in the company name by taking his vision overseas. The mission crystallized. IDG would provide information services about information technology, and though the elasticity of the objective allowed for occasional twists and turns, the ultimate success was built upon a steadfast devotion, over the next half-century, to the core mission. It was a lesson from which McGovern would rarely deviate.
Patrick J. McGovern and the birth of Computerworld
More than fifty years ago, in June 1967, Patrick J. McGovern, a young entrepreneur with a vision about how technology could change the world, published the first issue of Computerworld. The IT newspaper quickly grew into a global business that continues to cover the tech industry even today.
From the start, Pat McGovern intended for it to be an IT publication that delivered good quality journalism and computer industry news faster than the competition.
Like many start-ups that were born in garages, Hewlett-Packard or Apple, Computerworld was being run by MIT graduate Pat McGovern, out of his colonial style home. He was 30 at that time, and had started the IT publication just 3 years after founding International Data Corporation (IDC). IDC did research on emerging markets, where Patrick, who had a degree in biophysics and a passion for traveling, had seen enormous potential in what technology could offer.
The visionary idea of Computerworld, a newsweekly for the IT community, came in the 60’s while he was at an industry trade show. He envisioned something that would help users understand how technology could help their businesses grow. From those early days, Computerworld and IDC would grow over the years into International Data Group (IDG), including 300 publications in 97 countries, like NetworkWorld, InfoWorld, PCWorld, CIO and CSO, as well as IDG News Service, over 450 websites and 700 events.
Computerworld's 50 years of publishing
2017 was an important year, marking the 50th anniversary of Computerworld’s founding. The first full editorial issue of Computerworld was launched June 21, 1967.
Back in 1967, Thursday mornings were special, when the first issues of Computerworld were usually delivered from printers. The computer industry was flourishing in 1967: IBM created the first floppy disk, the first Computer Electronics Show (CES) debuted in New York City, and Chase became the first video game that could be played on a TV.
In 1973, McGovern launched Shukan Computer (the first international version of Computerworld) in Japan. While it was a Computerworld for that country, Pat didn't try to duplicate the content from his U.S. publication. He wanted each overseas IT newspaper to be unique, with a local staff that could tailor the content to the concerns in their home markets.
In 1980, McGovern established one of the first joint ventures between a U.S. company and one in the People's Republic of China, and in 1992, McGovern established IDG Technology Ventures, one of the first venture capital firms in China. In recognition of his great contribution to China's information industry and venture capital field, he was awarded the “International Investment Achievement Award” at the CCTV 2007 China Economic Leadership Award ceremony in Beijing. This was the first time the award was given to a foreign investor.
Over 50 years, Patrick McGovern built a large empire consisting of three primary groups: IDG communications, the publishing arm (including Computerworld), the IDC research arm, and IDG Ventures, an investment firm that focuses on up-and-coming technology businesses. And that is just in the U.S., IDG operates in 97 countries around the globe.
“Uncle” Pat’s personal touch
Pat McGovern was indeed a loved and respected leader. He always added a sense of family in his company, a practice that earned him the affectionate nickname of “Uncle Pat” among his employees.
Each December, McGovern would travel to every IDG business unit to hand out bonuses to every employee, more than 1,000 people. In the morning, he'd visit a human resources office and comb worker files to glean personal information he could use to spark a conversation with people as he handed out their bonuses. It was common for McGovern to compliment reporters on their latest articles and thank them specifically for their work.
"When you were in front of him... he was just bigger than life. One of the things that he had the ability to do is make you feel as if you could accomplish anything. So even though you might have doubts about the task at hand and even doubts about yourself, he would build you up in such a way that made you feel, 'Not only can I accomplish this, but so much more", Michael Friedenberg, CEO of IDG Communications Worldwide.
McGovern believed in loyalty, and he inspired it in his employees. For decades he walked around many of the campuses of his various companies shaking the hands of every employee, one by one, chatting with them and handing them a holiday card containing a generous holiday bonus.
"I hope that I can be remembered as contributing to the process that led to so many wonderful advances in the quality of life for people." Patrick J. McGovern, August 4, 2000
A passion for brain research
On February 28, 2000, MIT created the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, made possible by a total $350 million gift from McGovern and his wife, Lore Harp McGovern, one of the largest philanthropic gifts in the history of higher education.
The McGoverns envisioned an institute whose ultimate goal would be to understand the human brain in health and disease. One goal was to understand the basis of brain disorders and to lay the foundation for new treatments for conditions such as psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, a goal that Pat and Lore considered vitally important, given the enormous suffering and economic costs that are inflicted by these disorders.
Nobel laureate and professor of biology at MIT, Phillip A. Sharp, was named founding director, and Robert Desimone succeeded Sharp as director in 2004. In the fall of 2005, the McGovern Institute moved into spacious facilities in MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2011, plans were announced to strengthen the institute's collaborations with colleagues in China through the establishment of three new IDG-McGovern Institutes at Tsinghua University, Peking University and Beijing Normal University.
"Pat and Lore inspired all of us with their passion to understand the brain and help people suffering from brain disorders," said Desimone. "Their gift enabled many new students and faculty to start research careers, and they personally cheered everyone on with each important discovery. With three new IDG-McGovern Institutes in China, Pat realized his dream of an international effort to develop cures for diseases that affect so many people, and he will be greatly missed."