A Legacy of Support: Pedro Lichtinger, WG’78, Rises to the Benjamin Franklin Society’s Challenge

Pedro Lichtinger, WG’78
Iracilda Lichtinger, PAR'08, and Pedro Lichtinger, WG'78, PAR'08, rose to the Benjamin Franklin Society's Double Your Impact Challenge.

Pedro Lichtinger, WG’78, has achieved almost everything: a successful career in pharmaceuticals spanning three decades and two continents; a transition to a second act in biotechnology, running a firm that aims to help hundreds of thousands of cancer patients; and a distinguished history in philanthropy, having served on the board of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. But, on the eve of his 45th MBA Reunion in May, Lichtinger realized one frontier remained: his legacy at Wharton. “Wharton allowed me to maximize my potential,” he says, “and have an impact in society and in life.”

Growing up in Mexico, Lichtinger excelled in school, gaining admission to a slew of top American MBA programs. “I was 21 years old,” recalls Lichtinger, one of the few Wharton MBA students in his class without full-time work experience. He used his youth to his advantage, learning everything he could from his classmates — most of whom were at least half a decade older — not just about finance, but about life. “What I learned at Wharton is a lot more profound than the financial, strategic, or marketing tools that I was taught,” Lichtinger says. “The School formed me as a human being — it strengthened my values.”

Among those values — shared by his wife, whom Lichtinger met while working in Brazil, and two children — was recognizing the power of business to do good. Lichtinger’s current venture, Starton Therapeutics, is devoted to more efficiently designing cancer treatments so that rounds of chemotherapy deliver more benefits with fewer side effects. “Nothing impacts life like medicine,” he says.

In his philanthropy, as in his career, Lichtinger has always sought to make an impact. A longtime supporter of both the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Brazil Foundation, Lichtinger also proudly supports The Wharton Fund, as a member of the Benjamin Franklin Society, the leadership circle for The Wharton Fund’s most generous donors. Vital to the School’s enduring success, the fund powers essential programs such as financial aid and MBA Career Management and provides seed funding for ventures that grow into Wharton staples, like the MBA Semester in San Francisco.

Working with classmate Jay Fischer, WG’78, as co-chairs of the 45th Reunion Committee, Lichtinger canvassed peers across the globe ahead of MBA Reunion Weekend to encourage them to head back to campus and to support The Wharton Fund. Their efforts resulted in the highest total ever raised by a 45th Reunion Class.

In five years, Lichtinger vows, he and Fischer will likewise raise the bar for their 50th Reunion. “My legacy at Wharton just started,” Lichtinger says. “I want to make a difference in this institution that made the biggest difference in my life.”

This year, thanks to the Double Your Impact Challenge, in which an anonymous donor matched pledges to The Wharton Fund up to one million dollars, Lichtinger realized that there was no better time to increase his giving, enhancing his impact as a member of the Benjamin Franklin Society. “What I see in The Wharton Fund,” says Lichtinger, “is a place where I’m going to have a real impact on my school, the school that made me.”