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SLU Community Turns Out to Thank Benefactor, Alum Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz

by Amelia Flood on 02/23/2018

Dozens of Saint Louis University students, faculty and staff members turned out to thank SLU alumnus, trustee and benefactor Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz during a special reception on Thursday, Feb. 22. 

SLU alumnus, trustee and donor Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz speaks with students at a reception honoring his recent gift to the newly named Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business on Thursday, Feb. 22.SLU alumnus, trustee and donor Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz speaks with students at a reception honoring his recent gift to the newly named Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business on Thursday, Feb. 22.

Chaifetz, along with his wife Jill and son Ross, donated $15 million to the newly named Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, bringing the family's total contributions to the University to $27 million. The family gave the lead gift to spur construction of SLU's Chaifetz Arena in 2007. SLU announced the $15 million gift on Feb. 20.

In beginning his remarks, Dr. Chaifetz briefly told the story of how former SLU President Paul Reinert, S.J., allowed him to remain at SLU when financial issues threatened his ability to stay in school. Chaifetz not only promised Reinert that he pay back his tuition, but that he would also pay back the University in an even bigger way in the future. 

"This allows me to give back to a school I love, am passionate about and want to make even greater," Chaifetz told the large crowd. "I want to hear the Chaifetz School of Business mentioned in the same breath as other great business schools."

In addition to the school, the Center for Entrepreneurship will become the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship, in honor of the Chaifetz family's generosity.

Speaking for the University's Board of Trustees, Chairman Joseph Conran noted that Chaifetz always steps forward to provide important perspectives and support when key decisions come before the Board.

"And now with this leadership gift, Rich has stepped forward again," Conran said. "This time it isn't a building, but his belief that outstanding business programs can benefit every student who comes to SLU, whether they plan to follow a business career or not. He knows entrepreneurs come from all fields, and having the very best business acumen is essential to succeed in today's economy."

Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz takes a selfie with a student
(Right) SLU alumnus, trustee and donor Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz stops for a selfie with a student before making remarks at a reception honoring his family's $15 million donation to the newly named Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business on Thursday, Feb. 22. Photo by Steve Dolan

Mark Higgins, Ph.D., Edward Jones Dean of the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, spoke of the "truly transformational" nature of the gift.

"This $15 million gift will allow us to focus on our nationally-ranked programs, especially the entrepreneurship program," Higgins said. "We are delighted to have Dr. Chaifetz's name on our school and on our Entrepreneurship Center."

Taking the podium, University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., called the gift an "historic moment."

"This gift directly advances our strategic initiatives related to innovation, entrepreneurship, academic excellence and research - strategic priorities that Rich has supported and advocated since the beginning of his tenure as trustee," Pestello said.

"Dr. Chaifetz is also seen as a symbol of resilience, hope, and what is possible through a SLU education," he continued. "SLU took a chance on Rich, which he did not take lightly. Our students know and understand that. It is a powerful lesson. SLU believed and continues to believe in Rich. This gift helps show our students that he believes in them too."

In addition to the special reception, the University plans a formal celebration and naming dedication event later this year.

Photos by Steve Dolan


Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place. For more information, visit slu.edu.