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Alumnus gives record donation to business school

By Dylan McHugh
On February 20, 2012

DePaul University welcomed the largest donation in DePaul history on Feb. 15: a $30 million contribution to the College of Commerce from Chicago businessman and philanthropist Richard Driehaus.

In an email sent to members of the DePaul community, DePaul University president Rev. Dennis Holtschneider said that the funding will directly impact faculty support in the College of Commerce, which will be renamed the Richard H. Driehaus College of Business.

"There is no name more appropriate for our renowned school of business than that of an investment pioneer and philanthropist, a first-generation student who came to DePaul and exemplifies success and commitment to community," Holtschneider said in the email. "We anticipate that Richard's appreciation for and confidence in DePaul will be repaid in accomplishment and impact by future generations of Driehaus alumni." The Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, however, will keep its name.

Driehaus previously donated $3.45 million to DePaul in 2002 and also donated money to create the Driehaus Center for International Business in 1993. He is also the chief investment officer of Driehaus Capital Management, which oversees more than $7 billion. The College of Commerce named Driehaus the "Financial Executive of the Year" in 2000 and presented Driehaus with an honorary doctorate degree in 2002. He has also donated to the University of Notre Dame, renovated museums, and provided grants through the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

A South Side native, Driehaus earned both his undergraduate business degree and MBA from DePaul in 1965 and 1970, respectively. In a news release about the donation, Driehaus reflected on his favorite professors at DePaul during his education, naming Eugene Muldoon, Frederick Miller, and William Hayes.

Joel Whalen, director of the Curriculum Sales Leadership Program and an associate professor at DePaul, said that he was "proud and delighted" when he first heard about the donation and that it increases DePaul's credibility and prestige. "$30 million is a tremendous vote of confidence from a great financier," Whalen said, "His contributions are nothing short of extraordinary. He truly is a great man."

Whalen described Driehaus as someone with great intelligence and a boyish warmth that makes him easy to speak with. "Because of who he is, I'm going to say I work at the [Richard H.] Driehaus College of Business with pride," Whalen said, "If you forecast the future, it looks very bright." Whalen also anticipated many ceremonies and commemorations for Driehaus, adding that the donation is "a drum we're going to be beating for a while."

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel also praised Driehaus in a news release about the donation. "It's clear that the education Richard received at DePaul helped make him into the leader and citizen he is today," Emanuel said, "His generous donation ensures that many more students can learn from the best minds in business at one of Chicago's great universities."

The donation surpasses the $250 million goal in DePaul's "Many Dreams, One Mission" fundraising campaign, but in an email Holtschneider said that the campaign must continue through 2014 to "build resources in key strategic areas." Previously, DePaul's largest donation was a $10 million gift from an anonymous alumnus and his wife in Nov. 2011.

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