Born to John L. Loeb, Sr. and Frances Lehman Loeb on May 2, 1930, John, Jr. recalls a happy childhood shared with his siblings at Ridgeleigh Estate in Purchase, NY. The Loebs lived in one of two homes on the estate. John’s Lehman grandparents, Arthur and Adele, lived in the other. He also spent idyllic times with his many cousins at the Lehman lakeside retreat at Upper Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks, across the water from his Lewisohn grandparents’ compound. John attended the Collegiate School for Boys, the Harvey School in Hawthorne, NY and the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT. His experience of anti-Semitism at Hotchkiss helped form his lifelong commitment to fighting religious bigotry. In his own words, after Hotchkiss, attending college at Harvard was “heaven.”
John’s siblings are Arthur Lehman Loeb, Ann Loeb Bronfman (twin to Arthur), Judith Loeb Chiara, and Deborah Loeb Brice.
John is a cum laude graduate of The Harvey School in Katonah, New York (1939-1944) and The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut (1944-1948). John went on to become a 1952 B.A. cum laude graduate of Harvard College and received his M.B.A. in 1954 from Harvard Business School.
For his primary education, John attended the Collegiate School for Boys. The Harvey School in Katonah, NY, provided his middle school education.
For his high school years, John attended the Hotchkiss School in Salisbury, CT. While there, he encountered anti-Semitism and bullying, an experience that shaped his adult commitment to fighting religious bigotry in all its forms. As a result, John founded the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, funded the Loeb Visitors Center at the Touro Synagogue National Historic Site, and the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom at The George Washington University.
College and Graduate School at Harvard
The Loeb family has played a significant role in the modern history of Harvard University. In 1995, John’s parents donated $70.5 million to the school, the largest gift Harvard had ever received from a living donor. The Frances L. Loeb Library, the Loeb Drama Center, and numerous Loeb fellowships all carry John L. Loeb, Sr.’s name.
John, Jr. distinguished himself academically while an undergrad at Harvard, while serving as business manager of the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. After graduating from Harvard College, John attended Harvard Business School (HBS) from 1952 to 1954. As one of the youngest members of his class and with no previous business experience, John struggled at first but finished with a strong record. In the summer between his first and second years, John traveled to Yugoslavia to conduct research on the social and economic conditions under Tito’s communist regime. His international experience would later serve him well and foretold his devotion to traveling the world. John also joined ROTC, which allowed him to enter the Air Force as a second Lieutenant in 1954 upon graduation from HBS.