Rush University’s 2013 Commencement Speaker and Trustee Medal Recipient is Richard M. Jaffee
Richard M. Jaffee is a longtime friend and volunteer leader of Rush University Medical Center. As chairman of the Rush University Medical Center Board of Trustees, he has helped shape Rush’s transformation into a top academic medical center. Jaffee’s steadfast commitment to Rush’s mission, patients and students proves he is well-deserving of recognition as Rush University’s 2013 commencement speaker and trustee medalist.
In addition to serving as the chairman of the Rush University Medical Center Board of Trustees since 2008, Jaffee also chairs its executive committee. A member of the Board of Trustees since 1990, Jaffee was named vice-chairman in 1996 and in that role worked hand-in-hand with his predecessor, Ed Brennan (board chairman 1998 - 2007), on strategic planning for Rush. The Key Strategic Issues white paper issued by the board’s long-term planning committee in early 2002 has guided the Medical Center’s campus transformation and programmatic development since that time. Jaffee led the planning phase for a $300-million capital campaign that was launched publicly in 2006. Serving as campaign chairman, he directed a team of trustees and friends of the medical center that raised $389-million to support facilities, clinical and community programs, research and student aid. The Campaign for Rush University Medical Center was completed in 2012 and was the largest capital campaign in Rush’s history.
In addition to serving as its chairman, Jaffee is currently a member of the board’s audit, investment, and nominations and governance committees at Rush and serves ex officio on all other board committees. Even before joining the Board, Jaffee co-chaired a leadership committee for the Rush Cancer Center.
Jaffee is chairman of the Oil-Dri Corporation of America, a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of absorbent products. Founded in 1941 as a distributor of clay floor absorbents, the company now develops, manufactures and markets products for consumer, industrial, automotive, agricultural, sports fields and fluids purification markets. Jaffee is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. After service as an officer in the United States Army, Jaffee joined Oil-Dri in 1958, becoming its president in 1960. In 1962 he was named chairman and chief executive officer. He served as CEO of Oil-Dri until 1997.
Jaffee is a life trustee of the Chicago History Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). In 1998 he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Chicago Business Hall of Fame. In 2001 IIT recognized Mr. Jaffee with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
Jaffee’s many contributions to Rush and other prominent organizations prove he is a leader in Chicago and beyond, as well as a role model to Rush University graduates.