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Richard Jaffee, 1936-2018

Business and civic leader had transformational effect on Rush.

From the time he joined Rush’s Board of Trustees in 1990, Richard Jaffee played an integral role in bringing Rush University Medical Center to new heights. The chairman of Oil-Dri Corporation of America, where he was CEO from 1962 to 1997, Jaffee died on Jan. 26, 2018. 
“Dick Jaffee was a great leader, a great board chair and a great friend,” said Larry Goodman, MD, CEO of Rush. “His love of the Medical Center, coupled with his business acumen, ability to listen and high ethical standards presented an ideal role model for a board leader. He was not afraid to get into the details and ask hard questions, but did so on behalf of the community that Rush serves.”
In 2006 Jaffee began leading Rush’s $300 million campaign as its chairman, supporting a comprehensive transformation of the Medical Center’s West Side campus, programs and financial aid for its students.
The campaign was the largest in Rush’s history and exceeded its goal, raising $389 million by its conclusion in 2012, despite the Great Recession. That same year, Rush opened its new, state-of-the-art hospital Tower, including a fourth floor patient and visitor garden named in honor of Jaffee and his late wife, Shirley. She was a member of The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center, as is their daughter, Nancy Jaffee.
In recognition of his leadership, Rush awarded Jaffee an honorary doctorate and its highest honor, the Trustee Medal, at Rush University’s 2013 graduation ceremony, where he also was the commencement speaker.
“When Dick supported something, he was all in. Rush became a part of his family — as they have become part of ours. We join the Jaffee family in mourning the loss of Dick Jaffee, our family member,” said Goodman.
A celebration of Jaffee’s life will take place later this year. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jaffee’s memory can be made to Rush University Medical Center at (312) 942-1514