CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 3, 2007 — The MIT Sloan School of Management is the recipient of a $500,000 endowment from The Merck Company Foundation in honor of Judy Lewent, the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Merck & Co., Inc. who recently retired after a distinguished 27-year career with the global research-driven pharmaceutical company.
According to the MIT Sloan Office of External Relations, the fund income will be used by MIT Sloan to support doctoral fellowships and scholarly activities for students and faculty whose areas of interest are corporate finance and the general area of finance.
Ms. Lewent earned an MS from MIT Sloan in 1972. She went on to establish the Judy Lewent Fund for Research in Corporate Finance, an endowment that directly benefits the faculty and students of the MIT Sloan Finance Department.
“It's an enormous benefit for us to have this most recent endowment,” says Professor Paul Asquith, the Gordon Y Billard Chair in Finance at MIT Sloan. “Judy was one of the first to give money in the form of an endowed research fund in 1993.”
“Judy made an enormous contribution not only to Merck's success during her tenure with the Company, but also to the finance profession,” said Richard T. Clark, Chairman, President, and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc. “Her business and financial acumen, keen strategic thinking and analytical skills are world-class. It is only fitting that we would honor her on the occasion of her retirement with an endowment to a world-class academic institution such as The MIT Sloan School of Management.”
Drawn to MIT Sloan by its focus on emerging technologies, Ms. Lewent found herself particularly captivated in classes taught by professors Robert Merton and Myron Scholes, whose option pricing formula known as the Black-Scholes theory — developed along with the late economist Fisher Black — went on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997.
“I believe in and enjoy continuous learning, and I always find ideas I can put into practice,” says Ms. Lewent. “I hope this gift contributes to advancing the science of financial management, not just perpetuating the status quo.”
Ms. Lewent has been active for more than two decades on the MIT Sloan Visiting Committee, as a life member of the MIT Corporation, and through continued leadership support through the Judy Lewent Fund for Research in Corporate Finance. She served for 12 years on the MIT Executive Committee, and has played a role in supporting the building of a 209,000 square-foot, multi-purpose management center at MIT Sloan, which broke ground in May 2007.
Ms. Lewent, who began her career at Merck in 1980, pioneered work in financial valuation methods. In 1990, she was named Merck's Chief Financial Officer, making Ms. Lewent the only woman to hold the CFO title in an S&P 500 company at that time. In 2001, she was named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. During her career she was responsible for worldwide financial, corporate development and licensing matters, as well as for strategic planning. From 2003-2005, Ms Lewent gained additional responsibilities as President, Human Health Asia. She also served as chairperson of Merck Capital Ventures, and as a member of Merck's Executive Committee.
For fifty-five years the MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Cambridge, Mass., has been one of the world's leading academic sources of innovation in management. The School's mission is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. For more information, please visit: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/.
2007 marks the 50th anniversary of The Merck Company Foundation, a US-based, private charitable foundation. Established in 1957 by the global research-driven pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc., the Foundation is funded entirely by the Company and is Merck's chief source of funding support to qualified non-profit, charitable organizations. The mission of the Foundation is to support organizations and innovative programs that: expand access to medicines, vaccines and quality healthcare; build capacity in the biomedical and health sciences; promote environments that encourage innovation, economic growth and development in a fair and ethical context; and support communities where Merck has a major presence. For more information, please visit: http://www.merckcompanyfoundation.org.