Alumnus Inspired to Give Funds and Time after Ross Experience Influenced His Own Entrepreneurial Career Path
The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business today announced that Harvey Spevak (MBA ’87), fitness mogul and CEO of Equinox Holdings, Inc., has made a sizable donation to further expand the opportunities available to students with an interest in pursuing an entrepreneurial career path. The funds will be used to create the Spevak Fund for Entrepreneurial Studies, which will provide scholarships for students focusing on entrepreneurship.
Spevak is currently CEO and director of Equinox Holdings, Inc., a luxury fitness company that operates four separate fitness brands—Equinox, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and Soul Cycle—and its newest venture, Equinox Hotels. After starting his professional career in audit and financial services, Spevak quickly identified a desire to work in a more creative environment and co-founded Manhattan Sports, a sporting goods retail chain. This led him down an entrepreneurial path in the health and fitness sector that also included serving as vice president and general manager at Chelsea Piers Sports Center and joining Equinox as president when the company was a small family business of five clubs. Spevak then led a buyout of Equinox in 2000 and ultimately partnered with Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau in 2006 to further accelerate growth of the company.
“I have been a great beneficiary of everything the university has to offer, and it is a privilege to be in a position to give back to a school that has been so instrumental in my career by instilling in me not only the spirit of entrepreneurialism but also the ability to think creatively,” said Spevak. “My hope is that this gift will support and inspire those like me with a desire to pursue a less traditional business path.”
The Zell Lurie Institute is consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in entrepreneurship education by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine, placing among the top five graduate programs in the nation for six consecutive years. This is due not only to robust programming, comprehensive coursework, and action-based learning opportunities pioneered by the Institute, but also an active alumni base of entrepreneurs eager to help the next generation of Ross alumni entrepreneurs. In addition to Spevak, one of the most notable alumni dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship at Ross is Sam Zell, who last July pledged $60 million through the Zell Family Foundation to provide endowed support to the Institute for continued delivery and development of entrepreneurship programs for students and alumni.
In addition to the creation of the Spevak Fund for Entrepreneurial Studies, Spevak’s gift will also support a classroom in the Ross School of Business. The classroom is part of Michigan Ross’ $135 million dollaraddition and renovation, scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
Beyond providing financial support, Spevak also supports students by giving generously of his time. He helped with the design of the Och Fitness Center and regularly returns to campus to speak to and mentor both BBA and MBA students.