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Robert Leigh Underwood

venture capitalist

Robert Leigh Underwood, American venture capitalist. Fellow, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation; scholar, Alcoa.


Underwood, Robert Leigh was born on December 31, 1944 in Paducah, Kentucky, United States. Son of Robert Humphreys and Nancy Wells (Jessup) Underwood.


Bachelor of Science with great distinction (Alcoa scholar), Stanford University, 1965, Master of Science (National Aeronautics and Space Administration fellow), 1966, Doctor of Philosophy (National Science Foundation fellow), 1968. Master of Business Administration, Santa Clara U., 1970.


Research scientist, project leader Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Sunnyvale, California, 1967-1971. Special assistant for engineering science Office Secretary, Department Transportation, Washington, 1971-1973. Senior management associate Office Management and Budget, Executive Office President, 1973.

With TRW Inc., Los Angeles, 1973-1979, director retail nat. accounts, 1977-1978, director product planning and development, 1978-1979. President, Chief Executive Officer OMEX, Santa Clara, California, 1980-1982. Vice president Heizer Corporation, Chicago, 1979-1985.

Vice president Northern Trust Company, president Northern Capital Corporation, Chicago, 1985-1986. Managing partner ISSS Ventures, 1986-1988. Executive vice president North America Business Development Company, Chicago, 1988^.

Director various private public portfolio companies, MECC 1991-1996. Trustee Burridge Mutual Funds, 1996-1998. Member of advisory committee industrial innovation National Science Foundation,1982-1996.

Member school board Avoca District 37, 1990^, vice president, 1996^. Member advanced.bd. Leavey School Business and Administration Santa Clara U., 1995^.


  • Contributor articles to professional journals.


School board Avoca District 37, 1990—1999, vice president, 1996—1999. Advisory board Leavy School Business and Administration Santa Clara University, 1995—2010. Advisory committee on industrial innovation National Science Foundation, 1982—1996.

Trustee Kenilworth Union Church, since 2003, president, since 2010. Elder Presbyterian Church, 1978—1979. Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Farmington Country Club (Charlottesville, Virginia), Indian Hill Club (Winnetka, Illinois), Union League Chicago, Beta Gamma Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi.


Married Susan Lynn Doscher, May 22, 1976. Children: Elizabeth Leigh, Dana Whitney, George Gregory.

Robert Humphreys Underwood

Nancy Wells (Jessup) Underwood

Susan Lynn Doscher

Elizabeth Leigh Underwood

Dana Whitney Underwood

George Gregory Underwood