Richard H. Driehaus (BUS ’65, MBA ’70, DHL ’02), a finance industry pioneer and philanthropist, and James Jenness (BUS ’69, MBA ’71, DHL ’06), former Kellogg Co. CEO and chairman, both rose from humble beginnings on Chicago’s South Side to become successful business leaders after earning MBAs from DePaul.
Driehaus remembers fondly many of his DePaul business professors and credits one of them, economics Professor William A. Hayes, for encouraging him to finish a final class assignment necessary for earning his MBA. “I was out of the program for a couple years, and he called me up to tell me I had to get in a paper in order to get my MBA degree,” he recalls.
Driehaus submitted a paper titled “The Formation of a New Theory on Growth Investing.” “I was always interested in growth stocks and growth investing,” he says. “Earnings growth is the primary motive of business, so we seek stocks with the following characteristics: accelerating sales and earnings, desirable supporting fundamentals, upward estimate revisions and positive earnings surprises.”
My DePaul education was an important factor in how my career and life have evolved. I commend the university for creating an environment that not only excels in education, but does so in a benevolent way.” – Richard H. Driehaus
The paper coalesced Driehaus’s momentum investing philosophy, which he used to found Driehaus Capital Management in 1979. The philosophy still guides his firm’s investment decisions today.
Jenness, a graduate of Chicago’s Fenger High School, says he wasn’t a very good student until he came to DePaul’s business college. “The quality of the teachers was great,” he says. “Most of the teachers had real-world experience, which I found very valuable.”
“DePaul opened up the world for me,” he says. “I was really interested in marketing, and I wanted to work for a major company. Getting an MBA was a critical piece to be able to do that.”
Jenness rose in the ranks to become vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Leo Burnett advertising agency, and later was tapped to lead Kellogg, one of Burnett’s clients. “I have been lucky enough to work for some great companies and to become the chairman of the board of one of the world’s greatest companies, Kellogg, where I still serve on the board,” he says. “Without a DePaul education, my undergraduate and MBA education, that would never have happened. DePaul was great enabler for me to reach my potential, and I am very grateful for it.”
Both Jenness and Driehaus have given generously of their time and resources to support DePaul’s mission. Jenness chaired DePaul’s Board of Trustees (2011–14) and serves on the business college’s advisory council. Driehaus gave DePaul a $30 million gift in 2012 to support the recruitment and retention of top business faculty members, and also has contributed to international business and finance education initiatives. DePaul acknowledged his devotion to the university by naming the business college for him.
“My DePaul education, as both an undergraduate and through the graduate school of business, was an important factor in how my career and life have evolved,” Driehaus said at the college naming ceremony in 2012. “I commend the university for creating an environment that not only excels in education, but does so in a benevolent way.”
By Robin Florzak
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