Skip to main content
Our Team and Students

Our Team

Professional educators, administrators, coaches and support staff serve Longhorn entrepreneurs by developing and executing the high caliber Harkey Institute programs.

  • Melissa Lynne Murphy, Director

    Dr. Melissa Murphy, Director

  • Colin Ellis, Assistant Director

  • Reema Attyeh, Senior Academic Coordinator

  • Leah Chyma, Senior Coordinator

  • Abby Sawyer, Administrative Associate

  • Student Workers, Fall 2023

Meet Our Donor

John D. Harkey, Jr.

John Harkey headshot

Chairman, Chief Executive Officer

JDH Investment Management, LLC

John D. Harkey, Jr. has over 25 years’ experience as a private investor, chief executive and director of both public and private companies. He has merged, acquired, operated and/or served on the board of directors of ten public companies in biotech, energy, technology, aerospace, telecom, software, entertainment and restaurants, and private companies in healthcare, real estate, farm and ranch products and software development.

Full Biography

John D. Harkey, Jr. has over 25 years’ experience as a private investor, chief executive and director of both public and private companies. He has merged, acquired, operated and/or served on the board of directors of ten public companies in biotech, energy, technology, aerospace, telecom, software, entertainment and restaurants, and private companies in healthcare, real estate, farm and ranch products and software development.  He is an active investor in a variety of industries.

He is the Founder of JDH Investment Management, LLC, which is focused on leading innovative, impactful technologies and emerging company opportunities in biotech, gene therapy, non-opiate pain and pharma/therapeutic spaces.  He is the Co-Founder and formerly Executive Chairman of the Board of AveXis, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVXS), which was acquired in 2018 by Novartis.  AveXis develops proprietary gene therapies for rare neurological genetic diseases. He was a lead investor and served on the Board of CerSci Pharmaceuticals, which has a primary compound for a non-opioid severe pain reliever.  CerSci was acquired in 2020 by Acadia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACAD).  He is also a Co-Founder and currently serves on the Board of Cessation Therapeutics, a developer of vaccines for addictions to fentanyl, heroin and nicotine. He is also Executive Chairman of the Board of Dialectic Therapeutics, Inc., which is developing cancer immunotherapies. He serves as Chairman of Veterinary Service, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors of Durvet, Inc., two of the nation’s largest distributors of animal healthcare products. He serves on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE:LGF), a world-class motion picture and television studio. He is formerly the Chairman of the Board of Regency Gas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:RGP, sold to Energy Transfer) and has served on the Board of Directors of the Energy Transfer, LP companies (NYSE:ET). He formerly served on the Board of Directors of Loral Space & Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:LORL) which merged with Telesat, and on the Board of Directors of Emisphere Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:EMIS) which was acquired by Novo Nordisk, and formerly served on Board of Directors of Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP), which was acquired by AT&T. He was formerly on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of Sumo Logic (NYSE:SUMO), which was acquired by Francisco Partners. Mr. Harkey also serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Restaurant Companies, Inc. 

Philanthropically, John endowed at the University of Texas at Austin the establishment of The Harkey Institute for Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Studies and additionally established the John D. Harkey, Jr. Endowed Excellence Fund in Business Honors. He serves on the Board of Directors of The University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee, the University of Texas Development Board and is Past Chairman of the McCombs School of Business Advisory Board at the University of Texas at Austin. He was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame in 2022. He serves on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors Research, and the Innovation and Commercialization Committee.  He also serves on the Executive Advisory Council of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  He was elected to the Board of Directors of the State Fair of Texas, the President’s Development Council of Howard Payne University, the Southern Methodist University Tate Lecture Series Board of Directors 2018-2024 seasons, the Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation Advisory Board, the CEO Advisory Board of Dallas Arboretum, the Dallas Museum of Art Budget & Finance Committee, and the Executive Board of Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America, where he is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award and the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. His commitment to Scouting was recognized in 2017 at the Boy Scout National Jamboree, Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia for his philanthropic gift establishing the John D. Harkey, Jr. X-Zone for High Adventure. He is also a Member of the Young President’s Organization – Dallas Gold Chapter, serving as Education Chair and past Dallas Chapter Chair. 

John and Peni are longtime residents of Highland Park, Texas and have two daughters.  Meredith graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in Liberal Arts Honors and earned a J.D. at The University of Texas School of Law, and Morgan graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in Plan II Honors and completed her first year at The University of Texas School of Law.

Mr. Harkey grew up in Brownwood, Texas, obtained a B.B.A. in Business Honors and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. from Stanford University School of Business. He enjoys hunting, travel, and golf and won the AT&T Pebble Beach Celebrity Pro-Am in 2014.

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH

 

CONTACT US

Email: entminor@utexas.edu     Phone: (512) 232-6071 

Monday – Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT

Friday: Remote

 

 

OFFICE LOCATION

MAILING ADDRESS

McCombs School of Business

The University of Texas at Austin

2110 Speedway, GSB 2.130

Austin, TX 78705

We are located near the Dean’s Office on
the main floor. Follow the signs labeled
Entrepreneurship Minor.

McCombs School of Business

The University of Texas at Austin

2110 Speedway, Stop B6300

Austin, TX 78712-1750