In Memoriam: Merit School of Music Honors William Blair Partner Dick Kiphart

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dick Kiphart, a former William Blair partner and philanthropist who died in September 2016, was honored at Chicago’s Merit School of Music 35th Annual Performathon on February 25.

Kiphart, a long-time supporter of the school who served as its board chairman over the years, was particularly devoted to the Performathon. The Merit School of Music is a nonprofit music conservatory with a focus on teaching underserved youth of Chicago.

This year 350 Merit students participated in the event, with more than 100 ten-minute back-to-back performances over two days. As a special tribute to Kiphart, the Merit Philharmonic performed Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani Overture, a favorite of Kiphart’s which was selected by his widow Susie Kiphart who was in attendance.

Ryan DeVore, head of William Blair Private Client Advisors—one of several business units Kiphart led during his 50 years with the firm—paid tribute to his former colleague and mentor at the event.

“His love for the arts and philanthropy ran deep,” DeVore told the group, noting that Dick and Susie Kiphart were named Chicago Philanthropists of the Year in 2014. Kiphart was also the long-serving chairman of Chicago’s Lyric Opera.

“He loved music and the arts, especially the children and talents at the Merit School of Music,” DeVore said.

Under Kiphart’s leadership Merit’s capital campaign (2002-2006) raised nearly $20 million to purchase the school’s facility in the Chicago West Loop area, the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, and to establish a school endowment.

DeVore described Kiphart as loyal, humorous, hardworking, philanthropic, and memorable “for all the right reasons.” He was a life-long learner, DeVore told the students, who loved learning from youth and believed they held “the secrets to the future.”

William Blair supported this year’s event in honor of Dick and Susie Kiphart.

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