The Jaharis Family Foundation, at the request of well-known founder, businessman and philanthropist Michael Jaharis, recently donated $5 million to Chicago’s DePaul University College of Law. The gift is slated to endow scholarships to the school.
The generous donation marks the largest single gift to the university in its more than 100-year history. It followed two recent sizable donations to the school from other alumni, including $1 million to endow the school’s legal clinic and $500,000 for scholarships. The gifts support DePaul’s $250 million “Many Dreams, One Mission” campaign, which is their first comprehensive drive in 40 years – and the largest. The campaign’s objective is to raise $100 million for scholarships, by June 30, 2014, “to ensure that a college education is available to future generations of talented DePaul students.” The school hopes to raise another $150 million to “enhance academic excellence by building state-of-the-art facilities, hiring and retaining expert faculty and developing and enhancing cutting-edge academic programs that respond to pressing real-world needs.” The donations were announced by the university on May 20.
Jaharis, a Chicago native, served in the US Army Medical Corps during the Korean War. Following the war, he attended night classes at DePaul, earning his law degree in 1958. After a brief time in private practice, he began his career in the pharmaceutical industry, joining Miles Laboratories as legal counsel. He later became vice president and general counsel of the company’s Ethical Drug Division. Along with a partner, in 1972 he acquired Key Pharmaceuticals, where as CEO, he transformed the company from a “tiny producer of cough medicines into a powerhouse.” Key was part of an $836 million merger with Schering-Plough in 1986. In 1988, he launched Kos Pharmaceuticals, which dominated the market with a cholesterol-lowering drug. The company was sold to Abbott Labs in 2006. The successful businessman later founded and currently directs Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held drug/bio-tech discovery and design company. He is also the founder of the investment firm Vatera Capital, LLC. For the past 10 years, Jaharis has served as the lay head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States.
Jaharis hopes his gift will challenge others to donate as well. “I feel that my studies at DePaul are really what got me started,” he said in a statement. “It is particularly important for me and my family to give back to an institution which truly inspired me and may help open doors for young people who wish to advance their education.”
The foundation, under the direction of Jaharis, will continue to support higher education, arts and religious organizations for years to come.