In Memoriam: John Glynn, Legendary Venture Capitalist and Educator


Key Points

  • On July 26, the Foundation lost a friend, mentor, and visionary supporter with the passing of John W. Glynn, Jr.  
  • He was the founder and general partner of Glynn Capital and Glynn Ventures and taught at the top business schools.  
John W. Glynn Jr.

John W. Glynn, Jr.’s legendary career as a venture capitalist and an influential educator spanned more than 50 years. One of the original trailblazers of Sand Hill Road, he was the founder and general partner of Glynn Capital and Glynn Ventures.  

With his death on July 26, the Foundation lost a friend, mentor, and visionary supporter.  
“John was a colleague, a role model, an inspiration, but most importantly, a dear friend,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “He created a legacy of students, companies, and philanthropic organizations that is second to none. I speak for many when I say that he is greatly missed.” 

Throughout the years, John’s firms made early investments exceeding $1.6 billion in numerous critical ventures with capital committed from university endowments and prominent individual investors and families. The firms’ portfolios focus on private and public technology growth companies, including Intel, LinkedIn, Facebook, and DocuSign.  

An inspirational figure and mentor to many entrepreneurs, John was also committed to sharing his vast knowledge and experience with the younger generation. He impacted countless students through teaching courses at top business schools. He was the Thomas C. MacAvoy Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business, where he taught a venture capital course that was extremely popular among students. John served on the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees.  

“John was a brilliant, humble, successful, cultivated gentleman and servant leader,” said UVA Darden Dean and Foundation Board member Scott Beardsley, EdD, MBA. “Despite his incredible impact and achievements, I will most remember John as a family man.” 

Prior to UVA, John taught at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business for more than 25 years and at Cambridge University. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the UVA School of Law and earned his MBA from Stanford University. 

John is survived by his loving wife, Barbara. The two met while John was attending law school in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Barbara was completing her master’s degree in intellectual history at UVA, having had earned her undergraduate degree at Trinity College in Washington, DC. The couple married and moved to San Francisco, where Barbara taught school, and they raised four children.  

Barbara is a founding member of The Tech Interactive (previously The Tech Museum of Innovation) in San Jose, CA. She has also been involved at the UVA Graduate School for many years as an active volunteer and today is a College Foundation emeritus trustee, serving on its Northern California Regional Board. Barbara is also involved in the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that was founded in 1958 by women and has been run entirely by women ever since. 

Barbara and John established a philanthropic legacy that includes transformative gifts to the University of Notre Dame and the UVA College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Law School, and Darden School of Business. The couple created the John W. Glynn Jr. Law & Business Program, which integrates courses on business and legal analysis to prepare students for their professional careers. Glynn also served as a member of the UVA Law School Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2013 and helped manage the Foundation’s endowment as chair of its investment committee.  

Earlier this year, the Foundation’s team spoke with John about the couple’s decision to include the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in their philanthropy. 

“Our reasons for donating to the Foundation are two-fold: We wanted to support Neal, and we are also interested in healthcare,” Glynn said in the interview. “We have invested in the past in the medical field, with a particular focus on biotechnology. The momentum that Neal and his great team have created in the focused ultrasound community is admirable, and we wanted to help the Foundation be even more successful. Neither of us have a medical background, but whenever we get a chance, we always share the important work that Neal and the Foundation team are doing.”