Max Palevsky, entrepreneur who helped shape UChicago campus, 1924-2010
Computer pioneer Max Palevsky, PhB’48, SB’48, whose generosity helped shape many aspects of the University and its campus, died of heart failure May 5 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 85.
Palevsky, a noted art collector, political activist and former trustee, was a founder and director of Intel Corporation in Santa Clara.
"Max Palevsky would often say that the University of Chicago 'changed his life,' and in his own carefully considered ways, he worked to make the transformation that he experienced at Chicago available to others," said Hugo Sonnenschein, President Emeritus of the University and the Adam Smith Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. He "will forever stand tall among those who best represent what our rigorous variety of education makes possible."
Palevsky was born July 24, 1924 to Polish immigrant parents in Chicago. After high school, he entered the U.S. Army and served as a meteorologist in the Philippines during World War II.
After the war, he attended UChicago, where he earned bachelor's degrees in math and philosophy. He did graduate work in mathematics and philosophy here, as well as at UCLA, where he also taught.
It was his time at Chicago, Palevsky said, that had the greatest impact.
"My whole life has been shaped by the time spent as a College student at Chicago," he said in an interview with the University in 1996, after he gave $5 million to endow the Palevsky Faculty Fund, earmarked to enhance faculty excellence. "It gave me a notion of, and enthusiasm for, all that was out there in the world. It gave me a sense of the terrain of learning and of the limitless horizons of discovery."
In 2000, Palevsky pledged $20 million to the University to enhance the quality of residential life on campus. The Max Palevsky Residential Commons was born from the gift. His generosity was also behind Max Palevsky Cinema and the Palevsky Professorship in History and Civilization in 1972. Palevsky served as a University Trustee from 1972 to 1982.
"Max was an extraordinary person in every respect, and his dedication to the University and to the College was remarkable," said John Boyer, Dean of the College. "Max's gifts to the University had a fundamental impact in improving student life on campus and in strengthening our academic programs."
Max Palevsky is survived by his wife Jodie Evans; his daughter Madeleine Moskowitz; his sons Nicholas, Alexander, Jonathan and Matthew; his stepson Jan Krajewski III; four grandchildren; and his sister Helen Futterman.
Follow UChicago’s social media sites, news feeds and mobile suite.