Richard Driehaus, DePaul alum and business school namesake, dies at 78

Richard Driehaus, a DePaul alumni whose giving spirit led the university to rename its business school in his honor, died Tuesday at 78, the university confirmed Wednesday. 

“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,” DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban said in a statement. “His was the quintessential DePaul story – a son of the South Side of Chicago who learned the value of work early as a newspaper delivery boy.”

Driehaus was born in Chicago and earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from DePaul in 1965 and 1970, respectively. Upon graduation, he worked in institutional trading at A.G. Becker before founding Driehaus Capital Management LLC in 1982, the Chicago Tribune reported

Driehaus donated generously to preserving Chicago’s architecture, theater and arts institutions throughout his lifetime, primarily through his foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, which was established in 1983. 

In 2012, Driehaus donated $30 million to DePaul’s business school, the biggest donation the university had ever received at the time. 

“I see the Driehaus College of Business fostering even more talent, innovation and ethical values over the coming years,” Driehaus said at the time. “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.”

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, Ray Whittington and Richard H. Driehaus pose together in 2012. (Courtesy of DePaul University)

Then-mayor Rahm Emanuel also commented on the donation, saying that the donation ensured students for years to come could “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,” Emanuel said. 

Driehaus made a number of other donations and contributions to DePaul throughout his life, including the endowed Driehaus Center for International Business and a $3.45 million donation in 2002 that endowed a chair in the business school and established a behavioral finance center, according to a 2012 DePaul press release

“Without question, Richard is one of DePaul’s most accomplished alumni,” former DePaul President Dennis H. Holtschneider previously 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.”

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune that same year, Driehaus said his favorite DePaul professors were “Eugene Muldoon, who ‘made finance fascinating’ through his stories about market speculators of the past; William Hayes, who taught international finance; and Frederick Miller, ‘a conservative free market thinker.’”

Esteban wrote in his statement that he and his wife, Jo, plan to celebrate Driehaus’ life at a future date. 

“His pragmatic approach was forged in his Catholic values, education at neighborhood parochial schools, and his strong family life,” Esteban said. “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.”