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DePaul mourns death of Alumnus Richard H. Driehaus

Richard Driehaus
(Image courtesy of Andy Goodwin)

In 1970, Richard Driehaus was one assignment away from earning his MBA. He had been taking some time off from graduate school until his DePaul economics professor, William A. Hayes, called him up and reminded him that he was only one paper away from graduating. Driehaus submitted a paper about his ideas on growth investing – a philosophy that served as the driving force for what would become his multi-billion-dollar investment firm, Driehaus Capital Management.

Driehaus, an internationally recognized investment pioneer who got his start as a newspaper delivery boy on the South Side of Chicago, died on March 9. He was 78.

“Richard was an inspirational member of the DePaul University community who devoted so much of his life's focus to the university and our students," says DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban. “His pragmatic approach was forged in his Catholic values, education at neighborhood parochial schools and his strong family life. His inquisitive mind, relentless determination, and unquenchable desire to learn led him to unparalleled levels of success in the investment management industry, which in turn spurred his outsized effect on countless individuals and organizations as a philanthropist."

In 2012, DePaul renamed its College of Commerce the Richard H. Driehaus College of Business in recognition of a $30 million gift he made to the university. The record gift supports the recruitment and retention of top business faculty members.

“My DePaul education, as both an undergraduate and through the graduate school of business, was an important factor in how my career and life have evolved," Driehaus said at the college naming ceremony in 2012. “I commend the university for creating an environment that not only excels in education, but does so in a benevolent way."

A DePaul Triple Demon and Life Trustee, Driehaus earned his undergraduate business degree in 1965 and his MBA in 1970. In 2002, the university bestowed an honorary doctoral degree upon him.

Throughout his life, Driehaus generously dedicated his time and resources to support DePaul's Catholic, Vincentian mission. In 1993, he endowed the Driehaus Center for International Business. In 2002, he endowed a chair and established the Driehaus Center for Behavioral Finance. He funded scholarships for MBA students and a virtual stock portfolio contest for finance students.  In addition, he regularly supported the annual galas hosted by The Theatre School and School of Music. In 2018, he contributed to the establishment of the Dennis H. Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies.

Recognized as one of the most influential investment managers of his time, Driehaus also was a major force in the cultural and civic life of Chicago. He supported local, national and international initiatives that include advancing the arts, creating economic opportunity for low-wage earners and investigative journalism for government accountability. He cared deeply about creating and sustaining thriving urban environments, particularly in Chicago. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design recognizes superior buildings in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods in Chicago. He also loyally supported his high school, St. Ignatius College Preparatory School; his grammar school, St. Margaret of Scotland; and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The DePaul community will celebrate his life and lasting legacy at a later date.