News

IDG founder McGovern dies; listed Hollis as a home

Friday, March 28, 2014

By DAVID BROOKS

Staff Writer

Patrick McGovern, the founder of International Data Group and the only person on lists of American billionaires who claimed New Hampshire as home, has died.

McGovern, who lists Hollis as a home – although his profile in town has always been very low – died Wednesday at age 76 in Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

McGovern, a native of New York, graduated from MIT in 1959 and remained closely associated with that school, particularly for a $350 million gift from him and his wife, Lore Harp McGovern, that launched the school’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research .

McGovern made much of his money from International Data Group, a publisher of computer-related news, information and research that most recently reported annual revenues of $3.5 billion. McGovern was regularly on the Forbes list of the nation’s wealthiest people, with estimated worth of around $5.1 billion in the 2014 ranking, putting him alongside investment industry guru Charles Schwab.

Hollis town records indicate McGovern purchased a home at 4 Maple Knoll Drive in 1989. The house is not ostentatious or particularly large by Hollis standards and is assessed at less than $1 million.

His profile in town was so low that attempts over the years by The Telegraph to find people in Hollis who knew him never succeeded.

He never mentioned Hollis at the McGovern Institute, either, said Julie Pryor, communications manager for the institute.

“He didn’t talk about his private life to us,” she said.

McGovern has said he became interested in the brain as a teenager when he came across a book titled “Giant Brains; or, Machines that think” in the Philadelphia public library. He said in an interview some 50 years later, “It was the first book that talked about computers and their role as an amplifier of the human mind,” and it sparked a lifelong interest in science and technology.

McGovern majored in biophysics at MIT, where he became involved in student newspapers. After graduating, he was hired as an assistant editor for a new magazine, Computers and Automation, founded by Ed Berkeley, the author of the book that had so intrigued him. Four years later, he founded what became International Data Group.

The McGovern Institute is in MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex, described as one of the largest neuroscience research buildings in the world.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).

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