The longtime friend of Erikson was known for his passion for local and global philanthropy and for his ‘indomitable spirit.’
Kiphart, who died September 10 at age 75 after a long illness, also had a tremendous impact on Erikson Institute, serving as chair of the Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2010, a time of momentous change.
“Dick Kiphart was one of the few people I have known where everything is possible,” says Michelle L. Collins, current chair of Erikson’s Board of Trustees. “His indomitable spirit was infectious and spurred Erikson to significant growth. Most important to him was his wife, Susie — herself an Erikson graduate — and their children and grandchildren.”
During his tenure as board chair, Kiphart was instrumental in shepherding Erikson’s capital campaign to completion and played a key role in the construction of the institute’s permanent campus building in downtown Chicago. After his retirement as board chair, he was named one of Erikson’s life trustees.
“Dick Kiphart was one of the first people I had dinner with after moving to Chicago and coming to Erikson,” says Geoffrey A. Nagle, Ph.D., Erikson’s president and chief executive officer. “I was amazed by his passion for Erikson and his enthusiasm and energy for all of his philanthropic work around the world. He was truly inspiring from the first moment I met him.”
Born in Milwaukee in 1941, Kiphart joined Chicago-based investment banking firm William Blair & Co. in 1965. He worked there in numerous roles and was named partner in 1973, before retiring as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee in January.
Long passionate about new technologies, he championed many start-up companies dating back to the 1980s. After his recent retirement from William Blair, he continued to support new technology companies, helping start KDWC Ventures, a firm that invests Chicago-area tech start-ups.
In addition to his leadership role at Erikson, Kiphart served as board chair of the Lyric Opera, Columbia College Chicago, Merit School of Music, and The Poetry Foundation. He also served as a board member of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and numerous other institutions.
Kiphart’s wife, Susie, graduated from Erikson in 1973 and received an honorary doctorate from Erikson in 2014. Together, the Kipharts have been dedicated philanthropists. For years, they have contributed funds and their own labor to help construct schools and dig wells in Ghana and lead health initiatives in Nigeria. Kiphart also served on the board of DATA, a foundation led by U2 singer Bono, dedicated to raising money for programs related to debt, AIDS, and trade in Africa.
In addition to Susie, his wife of 50 years, Kiphart is survived by his three daughters as well as seven grandchildren.