Paul Merage is a philanthropist, an innovative and successful entrepreneur, and a champion of education. Paul and Lilly Merage’s $30 million gift...
Paul Merage is a philanthropist, an innovative and successful entrepreneur, and a champion of education. Paul and Lilly Merage’s $30 million gift to UC Irvine’s business school in 2005 was the most significant donation in the University’s history. Merage was born in Iran and came to the U.S. in the 1960s to attend college. He excelled as a top student and, by the age of 22, had earned both his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
In 1975, Paul Merage and his brother David established Chef America, a consumer frozen food manufacturing company best known for its now iconic products, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets. During Paul’s 27-year tenure as CEO, Chef America became one of the largest and most profitable privately held food companies in the U.S. The Merage family sold the company in 2002 to Nestle for $2.6 billion. In 2003, Paul, Richard and Greg Merage established MIG investment companies, which include MIG Capital and MIG Real Estate Holdings, where today Paul Merage serves as chairman.
Paul and Lilly Merage are active in other educational philanthropies, including the Merage Institute for U.S.-Israel Innovation Bridge program.