Harvard Lamont University Professor John Dunlop had always recognized the importance of the convergence of business and government to our country and created the Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School to bring the two entities together in an academic setting for the good of all.  The Center is now run by Co-Directors:  Harvard Kennedy School Executive Dean John Haigh and Lawrence Summers, Weil Director, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus of Harvard University.

John Cullinane was fortunate in being selected as its first Fellow, with the encouragement of Richard Cavanagh, Executive Dean of the School at that time.  While there, John wrote his book, “The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide” and a paper entitled “Widows and Orphans – A Walk Down Wall Street From the Perspective of a High Tech Entrepreneur.” 

Financial Management Network Interview – John Cullinane discussing Widows & Orphans – August 1991 (video)

Credit Crunch Seminar (l-r) John Cullinane, seminar organizer; Robert Glauber, guest speaker and Under Secretary of the Treasury, currently Professor at the Kennedy School; Robert Putnam, Dean of the Kennedy School, author of famous book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, currently Professor at the Kennedy School; and former Congressman Joseph Kennedy.

He also organized CEO seminars on important subjects of the day, such as the credit crunch and telecommunications.  The latter conference resulted in the formation of the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council.  John also represented Harvard in a debate between the School and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, celebrating the 400th year of Trinity’s founding.

In addition, John presented two public/private initiatives at the School for students, faculty, and invited guests.  One, along with Dr. Frank Costello, to discuss how such initiatives helped the peace process in Northern Ireland by creating badly needed jobs.  Also, John organized a Kennedy School Forum event featuring SDLP leader Alex Attwood and Billy Hutchinson, a Loyalist and member of the Progressive Unionist Party, in a rare cross community initiative at the time.  It was Chaired by Professor Louise Richardson.  The School also hosted another cross community initiative created by Dr. Frank Costello that brought 450 young community leaders from Northern Ireland and the Republic to Boston to work, study and socialize when there were very few opportunities at the time for this to happen.  Today, members of this group are in leadership positions at all levels of business, government and academia on the island of Ireland.

The second public/private initiative was based on his book of oral histories of the pioneers of interactive computing, “Smarter Than Their Machines: Oral Histories of Pioneers in Interactive Computing.”  Their efforts in academia, funded by a government agency DARPA, led to an unanticipated result, the creation of the computer industry and the Internet.  John concluded that America needs a domestic DARPA to cope with the major problems facing our country today in a similar way, namely, the full cooperation of business, government and academia.  Most recently, John was a member of the Center’s Advisory Board.  John and his wife, Diddy, were Co-Chairs of the Harvard Parents’ Fund for three years.  Both of their children, John Jr. and Suzanne, are Harvard graduates.

Northern Ireland:  The Prospects for a Resolution to the Conflict, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (video)

Public-Partnerships in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, John Cullinane and Dr. Frank Costello, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (podcast)

Public-Private Partnerships, A Case Study of the Development of the Computer Industry.  John Cullinane, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (podcast)


John Cullinane with the actual file cabinet that the Watergate burglars tried to break into at the DNC’s offices during the Nixon Administration.

Some initiatives in entrepreneurship at the Kennedy School and Harvard are as follows:

  • Richard Cavanagh’s lecture series on social entrepreneurship (Kennedy School)
  • Technology and Entrepreneurship Center
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Harvard Medical School
  • Rock Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator

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