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Celebrating a Renaming: The Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business

Students%2C+staff+and+faculty+gather+in+the+newly+renamed+Richard+A.+Chaifetz+School+of+Business+to+listen+to+Dr.+Chaifetz+speak+about+his+relationship+with+the+University.
Students, staff and faculty gather in the newly renamed Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business to listen to Dr. Chaifetz speak about his relationship with the University.

Students, staff and faculty gather in the newly renamed Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business to listen to Dr. Chaifetz speak about his relationship with the University.

Students, staff and faculty gather in the newly renamed Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business to listen to Dr. Chaifetz speak about his relationship with the University.

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It was during SLU’s 200th birthday celebration that John Cook and Dean Mark Higgins discussed making the naming rights of the business school available in the event that an exceptional fundraising gesture be made.

On Feb. 20, such a gesture was made. Saint Louis University officially announced that the John Cook School of Business would be officially renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. In addition, Saint Louis University’s Center for Entrepreneurship will be named the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship.

The John and Lucy Cook Hall building, however, will not change. The couple contributed $5 million toward the building’s construction in 1999, and will therefore continue to retain the namesake.

These naming changes come after a $15 million contribution to Saint Louis University’s business education from Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz and his wife, Jill Chaifetz. This donation raises the total amount of money the Chaifetz family has donated to Saint Louis University for $27 million, as they also contributed a $12 million gift to SLU in 2007. The 2007 donation was the lead gift that was used in the construction of Chaifetz Arena.

The business school was named the John Cook School of Business in fall 2000 when alumnus John Cook earned the naming rights in recognition of his many contributions to the business school and university.

Earlier this month, it was announced that SLU had surpassed its fundraising goals. From July 1 through to the end of 2017, it was reported that SLU had raised $57.6 million. This figure was only $8.5 million short of SLU’s 2006 fundraising record for the entire fiscal year. In regards to the fundraising success, President Pestello said: “There’s no way we’re not going to have our best year ever.”

Dr. Chaifetz graduated SLU with a degree in psychology in 1975. Since then, he has gone on to become an incredibly successful entrepreneur and businessman as the founder of the ComPsych Corporation, the world’s largest provider of employee assistance. He was Saint Louis University’s Alumni of the Year in 2007, as well as an inductee of the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame that very same year.

SLU students have had mixed reactions to the change. Some, like senior marketing and international studies student Christina Mertz,  have reservations.

“I’m just concerned as a graduating senior that the name won’t carry any weight on my resume since it is such a recent change. I feel the reputations of Cook School of Business won’t transfer quickly,” said Mertz.

While others, like Kevin Ganahl, a junior entrepreneurship studies student, are excited by the change.

“Personally, I feel amazing about it,” Ganahl said. “I think it’s great that we have such a great donor that continues to provide incredibly generous donations time and time again. To me, it shows the love that Saint Louis University gives and gets from the community around it.”

Students, faculty and staff and community business leaders, have been invited to celebrate the gift at a reception on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., while a formal naming dedication for the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business will be held later this year.

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Celebrating a Renaming: The Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business