Johns Hopkins University Renames Facility to Honor Slain Alumnus and Tech CEO

Johns Hopkins University Renames Facility to Honor Slain Alumnus and Tech CEO

Fast Forward U becomes Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship to commemorate the legacy of Pava LaPere

In a poignant tribute to Pava LaPere, a Johns Hopkins University alumna and tech CEO who tragically lost her life in September, the university has announced the renaming of its startup hub, Fast Forward U. The newly christened Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship will serve as a lasting testament to LaPere’s entrepreneurial spirit and her invaluable contributions to the university’s ecosystem. The decision was unveiled during a memorial service attended by prominent figures such as Governor Wes Moore and Mayor Brandon Scott, underscoring the profound impact LaPere had on both the academic and entrepreneurial communities.

A Visionary Leader and Catalyst for Change

Pava LaPere, at the age of 26, played a pivotal role in the establishment of Fast Forward U five years ago, according to Christy Wyskiel, executive director of Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures. LaPere, who had already founded four businesses during her college years, including EcoMap Technologies, recognized the need for a dedicated space where student entrepreneurs could thrive. Her vision and determination led to the creation of an accelerator program that offered mentorship and funding to fellow students, a model that was subsequently adopted by the university. LaPere’s entrepreneurial energy and efforts continue to shape the entrepreneurial landscape at Johns Hopkins, making the renaming of the facility a fitting tribute to her enduring legacy.

Commitment to Student Innovation

Johns Hopkins University has also pledged $2 million towards an endowment for the newly named Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship. This significant investment underscores the university’s commitment to fostering student innovation and providing the necessary resources for aspiring entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition. Fast Forward U, now bearing LaPere’s name, will continue to serve as a hub for students interested in creating startup companies, offering mentorship, funding, and a collaborative environment conducive to innovation and growth.

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Empowering the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

LaPere’s impact extended far beyond the university campus. Her dedication to championing entrepreneurship and diverse leadership made her a de facto mentor to many in the city of Baltimore. As the CEO of EcoMap Technologies, LaPere spearheaded the publication of data maps and contact lists, providing valuable insights into business, nonprofit, legal, and venture capital networks across the country. Notably, EcoMap Technologies highlighted Baltimore’s Black-owned business community, shedding light on an often underrepresented sector. Through her work, LaPere sought to empower entrepreneurs and create opportunities for underrepresented groups, leaving an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape.

Tragedy and Resilience

The untimely death of Pava LaPere sent shockwaves through the community. Found dead in her Mount Vernon apartment building, the loss of such a promising young leader was met with profound grief. Jason Billingsley, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to her death and is currently being held without bail. Despite the tragedy, LaPere’s family and Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels agreed that renaming the center in her honor would serve as a testament to her enduring legacy. By keeping her memory alive, they hope to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs to follow in her footsteps and continue her mission of fostering innovation and diverse leadership.


The renaming of Fast Forward U to the Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University is a poignant tribute to the life and legacy of Pava LaPere. Her indomitable spirit, entrepreneurial drive, and commitment to empowering others continue to resonate within the university and the wider community. The center, now bearing her name, will serve as a beacon for aspiring student entrepreneurs, providing them with the necessary resources and support to turn their ideas into reality. LaPere’s tragic death reminds us of the fragility of life, but her enduring legacy serves as a reminder to embrace resilience, champion innovation, and strive for a more inclusive and diverse entrepreneurial landscape.

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