Glen de Vries

Chapter Eternal: Entrepreneur and space traveler Glen de Vries ’94 – CMU

Glen de Vries, entrepreneur in medical science and pharmacology, philanthropist, aviation and space enthusiast, died tragically on November 11, 2021 in a private plane crash. 

He was profoundly impacted by his opportunity to travel to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard Spacecraft with William “Captain Kirk” Shatner, but he will be remembered for his legacy of earthly pursuits and contributions to humankind. 

DeVries and crew
Glen de Vries, Audrey Powers, William Shatner, and Chris Boshuizen — Blue Origin crew members October 13, 2021.

His groundbreaking flight left with him only wonderment and the potential of space travel to benefit the world. After his journey he said, “You’re seeing Earth in indescribably vivid colors: blue, white, yellow, brown and green. There’s such a stark contrast between Earth and space and that line where we all live in between is frighteningly small. I know climate change is a huge problem, but the view made strikingly clear: If we really want Earth to be beautiful the way that we as humans can live on it and enjoy it, we need to start thinking about preserving the environment urgently.”

He pledged to, “make advancing the democratization of space part of my mission for the balance of my life.” 

Glen grew up in New York and showed a passion for computers and science at a young age. He attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he joined Pi Lambda Phi and earned his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and genetics in 1994. He worked as a research scientist at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and studied computer science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematics.

He co-founded Medidata in 1999, the leading cloud platform for life sciences research. Medidata revolutionized how medical research is conducted, helping medical science bring new life-saving treatments to the public.

A Carnegie Mellon University trustee, he donated $10 million to endow the Mellon College of Science to invest in fundamental sciences, interdisciplinary initiatives, and in faculty and students.

Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University