Wayne State University Foundation names Driker as new chair

September 28, 2009

Eugene Driker was elected chair of the Wayne State University Foundation board at its September 15 meeting. Driker succeeds Eugene Applebaum, alumnus and founder of Arbor Drugs, as only the second person to hold this distinguished position since the foundation's inception in 1999. With a history spanning five decades at Wayne State as a student, two-time graduate, donor, advocate and member of the Board of Governors, Driker has been an engaged member of the Foundation's board since its beginning.

"It is a real honor to succeed my long-time friend, Eugene Applebaum, as chair of the Wayne State University Foundation," Driker said. "Eugene represents the very best in civic engagement and personal philanthropy. His dedication to the university has come in so many different and important ways, the most obvious of which has been his leadership of the foundation in its formative stage during the highly successful Wayne First campaign. I hope to build on the momentum he created. There is nothing more important for the future of our university than sustained and substantial financial support from alumni and friends."

Driker's Wayne State story began in 1959 when he graduated with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He went on to earn a J.D. from the university's Law School in 1961. Driker is a founding member of the Detroit law firm Barris, Sott, Denn & Driker, P.L.L.C.

A passionate and articulate spokesman for the university, Driker has had pivotal roles in several fundraising campaigns for the university and its law school. He chaired the law school's highly successful Campaign for the 21st Century and is involved in another campaign to construct a new building for the school. Driker's exemplary efforts, with those of many other volunteers, enabled Wayne First, the university's first comprehensive capital campaign, to surpass its $500 million goal.

The Wayne State University Foundation was established by the university's Board of Governors as the centralized entity to encourage and manage financial support from private sources. Such philanthropic support supplies the financial base that allows the university to provide students and faculty excellent opportunities for learning and discovery that otherwise would not be possible.

As the face of fundraising and stewardship for the university, the foundation seeks to promote advocacy and generate financial support, supplementing state appropriations, tuition and research-related income. The foundation operates independently as a nonprofit 501(c) (3) corporation and participates as a partner with the university in realizing Wayne State's overall advancement objectives.

"I am tremendously thankful that Eugene Driker has agreed to take the helm of the WSU Foundation Board," said David Ripple, president of the Foundation and vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs at WSU.

"As a graduate, volunteer, supporter and member of our governing body, Eugene has a unique perspective on Wayne State's importance to the community and its promise for even greater accomplishment. We are fortunate to have his loyalty and dedication as we work to advance the mission of the university."

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.