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Feb 15, 2012

DePaul University Receives Largest Gift in its History

DePaul University today announced a $30 million gift from Chicago momentum investment pioneer and philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus to enhance the academic programs of its 100-year-old College of Commerce. Coming as the College enters its centennial year, the record gift is expected to transform the future of business education at DePaul, the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest.

The donation, which advances the school’s ambitious Many Dreams, One Mission capital campaign, builds on $3.45 million previously given to DePaul by Driehaus, a devoted alumnus. In recognition of the longtime partnership, DePaul will rename the College of Commerce the Richard H. Driehaus College of Business at DePaul University.

“I see the Driehaus College of Business fostering even more talent, innovation and ethical values over the coming years,” said Driehaus, a lifelong Chicagoan born and raised on the city’s South Side. “The impact will benefit not only the lives of the graduates, but also the Chicago community and world at large. It is a privilege to be able to give back to an institution that gave so much to me.”

The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul, said of the gift, “Over the years, Richard’s leadership has driven continued advancement and gains in quality in the College of Commerce. This transformative gift solidifies Richard’s legacy and enables the college to assemble a faculty that is among the best in the nation.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “It’s clear that the education Richard received at DePaul helped make him into the leader and citizen he is today. His generous donation ensures that many more students can learn from the best minds in business at one of Chicago’s great universities. DePaul students will have even more opportunities to shape Chicago with lives of service and stewardship, just as Richard has done.”

Added Ray Whittington, dean of the College of Business, “Richard’s extraordinary gift puts us in a position to aggressively recruit and retain top faculty at a time when business schools nationwide face intense competition for the very best scholars. This investment is particularly powerful because it directly impacts teaching and student learning.”

Driehaus and DePaul: The partnership

Richard H. Driehaus earned both his undergraduate business degree (1965) and MBA (1970) from DePaul. In 1993 he endowed the Driehaus Center for International Business, which holds seminars for business students and faculty in 15 different overseas centers and sponsors international MBA programs taught by DePaul faculty, among other initiatives. In 2002, Driehaus donated $3.45 million to the college to endow a chair and establish an innovative center in behavioral finance. He also has funded scholarships for international MBA students and a virtual stock portfolio contest for DePaul finance students.

In recognition of his contributions to DePaul’s business curriculum, in 2000 the College of Commerce named Driehaus “Financial Executive of the Year” and in 2002 bestowed an honorary doctoral degree upon him. Today, Driehaus is a Life Trustee and honorary co-chair of the capital campaign for the College of Commerce.

“Without question, Richard is one of DePaul’s most accomplished alumni,” Holtschneider said. “His achievements illustrate the combined power of drive, intellect and high-quality education. His life trajectory—from the South Side of Chicago to internationally recognized investment pioneer—is an inspiration to students.”

Driehaus said, “I have many fond memories of the outstanding finance education I received at DePaul and the great professors I had. Among my favorite professors were Eugene Muldoon, who made finance fascinating, regaling us with stories of market speculators of the past and the great fortunes they made; Frederick Miller, a conservative free market thinker; and Dr. William Hayes in international finance. 

“My ongoing partnership with the university is aimed at ensuring that current and future students receive the same excellent education,” Driehaus said. “I believe DePaul is poised to become one of the top American business schools of the next century.”

Career and philanthropy

In 1982, Driehaus founded Driehaus Capital Management LLC in Chicago. Eighteen years later, Barron’s magazine named him one of the 25 most influential investment managers of the 20th century for his success in developing an aggressive growth style of equity investment management.

Driehaus also is a major force in the cultural and civic life of Chicago. He is widely recognized as one of the city’s most innovative, hands-on and generous philanthropists, supporting local, national and international initiatives.

In addition to DePaul, over the years Driehaus has loyally supported his high school, St. Ignatius College Preparatory School; his grammar school, St. Margaret of Scotland; and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Through the generosity of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, renovation was completed in spring 2010 on the historic Conway House at Sacred Heart Schools, where his daughters were educated.

In addition to education, Driehaus has made enhancing public awareness of the built environment one of his primary philanthropic interests over the last 20 years, along with advancing the arts, economic opportunity and government accountability. Through either The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation or The Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust, he supports a wide range of initiatives. These include strategic planning and general operating support, workshops and symposia, exhibitions, books and catalogs, films, magazines, commemorative celebrations, and public education campaigns.

Perhaps best known for establishing the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, Driehaus also supports The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, which recognizes superior buildings in mostly low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods in Chicago.

Creating and sustaining thriving urban environments, particularly in Chicago, is of vital interest to his foundation. Within the last year, it bestowed grants on a range of organizations, including the Chicago Community Loan Fund, Design Corps, Designs for Dignity, Enterprise Community Partners, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, The National Public Housing Museum, and the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association.

Business education at DePaul

Founded in 1912, DePaul’s College of Commerce was among the first 10 business schools in the nation and the first business school at an American Catholic university. Today it includes The Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. The college houses a number of highly ranked programs and research centers. Its undergraduate and graduate entrepreneur programs are ranked among the top 20 in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. The College of Commerce overall and its part-time MBA program are ranked among Bloomberg Businessweek magazine’s top 50, and Kellstadt’s part-time MBA program has received numerous top 10 rankings by U.S.News & World Report.

“DePaul ended the last year on a high note with a $10 million commitment from an anonymous donor,” Holtschneider said. “Now we begin 2012 with this extraordinary commitment from Richard H. Driehaus, a transformative gift that will generate qualitative leaps in our faculty, programs and rankings.”


For more information:

DePaul University,

Driehaus College of Business,

Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business,

Driehaus Capital Management LLC,

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation,

Richard H. Driehaus Museum,



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The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, Ray Whittington and Richard H. Driehaus