Michael (M.S., ’93) & Kathy Richman Deepen Their Support for San Francisco State

Michael Richman (M.S., ’93, Business Administration) is a born scientist. Growing up in New York and then Florida, he had an unending curiosity for the unknown, whether it was plants or animals. In high school, while his peers spent their free time watching TV, Michael flung himself into the world of genetics. First, reading about population genetics, then genetic diseases, which segued into human culture and behaviors, then molecular biology and genetic engineering. As high school graduation neared, he thought of two possible career paths: genetic counselor or scientist. Then one day in computer class, his search for college programs in genetics led him all the way to California. 

On a whim, he applied to the University of California at Davis, and was accepted. A student with limited means, Michael received financial assistance and worked campus jobs. As a Genetics and Molecular Biology major, he took classes in gene regulation, biochemistry and microbiology, which prepared him for a career in biotechnology. 

With a drive to help people, he gravitated toward health care. His first job in biotech was as a researcher for Microgenics in Concord and then as a yeast biologist at Emeryville-based Chiron, now Novartis, where he worked for 12 years. It was there that Michael’s role expanded outside the lab to include intellectual property and business development. He built collaborations with universities, governments and international companies. Admittedly, he felt ill-prepared for such a role and pursued training in business. 

He enrolled in SF State’s MBA program in the 1990s. He remembers fondly the diverse backgrounds of his peers, the knowledgeable professors, solving problems together in class, and the supportive faculty—especially Professor Neil Evans, who challenged Michael to build on his scientific interests through international business. When Michael graduated, that’s exactly what he did. 

Michael went on to help build MedImmune in Maryland, which developed a drug to prevent RSV in premature infants and then created one of the first vaccines for HPV before the company was sold to AstraZeneca. Michael started MacroGenics, a public company focused on cancer drugs, then Amplimmune, which was dedicated to immunotherapy, and now his newest venture, NextCure, which focuses on next-generation immunomedicines for cancer patients.  

Michael credits SF State with helping him to successfully pivot from research to business development, where he has built thriving biotech companies that are inventing new therapies for patients. While he has been a steadfast donor since 2000, Michael and his wife Kathleen H. Richman significantly deepened their commitment and support to the University in 2022 with a gift of $100,000 to the $25 Million Catalyze the Future campaign. The campaign benefits the University’s new Science & Engineering Innovation Center, due to be completed in 2024, equipping it with state-of-the-art labs, tools, and technology. The new Innovation Center will prepare STEM students at the University for success in the workplace and support the research and teaching productivity of its faculty. The Richmans also gave generously to a joint program at the intersection of business and science, and to the University’s Guardian Scholars Program.  

For more information, contact:

Holly Fincke ( She/Her/Hers )
Senior Director of Development
College of Science and Engineering
(415) 338-7118