On March 9, 2015, Baruch College lost one of its most generous and tireless advocates, alumnus Bernard Richards, class of 1949. He was 87 years old.
A distinguished student—he graduated with honors—Richards quickly became a successful, distinguished alumnus. Bernie (as his friends called him) began his career as an entry-level accountant and rose to become chairman and CEO of Slattery Associates, which helped build some of New York’s iconic structures, including the Headquarters of the United Nations and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
During his thriving career, his commitment to his alma mater remained strong. Richards served on the nascent Baruch College Fund Board, first in 1974 and then twice as its president. In 2002 he was named a Trustee Emeritus. The College honored him as a Wood Fellow and twice as Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
Richards met his wife of 66 years, Arlene (class of ’50), in the stairwell of the College’s Field Building at 17 Lexington Avenue. In 2009 they were recognized with the Annie and Bernard Baruch Couples Award. The couple has endowed scholarships and lecture series, among other initiatives. Their generosity daily impacts and inspires the lives of students.
It was my good fortune to have met Bernard Richards in the early 1980s and have him guide me as a new trustee. He was my inspiration as I observed him in his role as president of the Board of Trustees of the Baruch College Fund (BCF).
He shared with me his great passion for Baruch College. He was tireless in using his skills as an executive to guide the BCF, always smiling and calmly working on various BCF matters or chairing committees for the benefit of the College that he loved so much. Bernie and his wife, Arlene, generously gave of their time and money, raising funds and endowing many scholarships when the BCF was in its infancy and money was scarce. We owe him and Arlene a debt of gratitude for the great accomplishments of today’s BCF. I will miss him greatly.
—Dov Schlein (’70, MBA ’75)
I “discovered” the exceptional Bernie Richards long before I had the privilege of meeting him face to face. As a young securities analyst and portfolio manager, I had invested in a public company he ran. That company’s financials were exceptional in their clarity and straightforwardness. I discerned at once the accounting precepts inculcated in me by my mentor, the late Professor Abe Briloff, who impressed on me a company’s obligation to present results realistically.
But I truly got to know Bernie after I joined the Baruch College Fund (BCF), which he had helped to found and on which he had already served as a president. Given my background, I received an initial assignment of heading the then-small investment committee. Fortunately, Bernie was a member of that committee, and I quickly came to depend on his wisdom and insights.
From that time forward, I knew Bernie as someone who could always be relied on for sage, independent, and caring advice. He was a man of deep integrity and kindness who was committed to sustaining Baruch’s legacy of providing opportunity for others as it had for him and for so many of us. We have lost a valued friend.
—Charles Dreifus (’67, MBA ’73)
Bernie was a true son of Baruch. He was totally dedicated to his alma mater, giving tirelessly of his time and resources to further the school’s mission. Having met his beautiful wife, Arlene, at Baruch while still an undergraduate, Bernie felt an extra special connection to the College.
Bernie was my first BCF President when I joined the board in the mid-1990s. He was welcoming, humble, thoughtful, caring, and—most of all—passionate. He carried himself with an easy grace and was a truly beloved figure when he walked the corridors of Baruch talking to students or when he chaired the BCF Board meetings. He was inspiring to me and to all who had the privilege of knowing him. The Baruch family has suffered the loss of an extraordinary friend.
—Arthur Ainsberg (’68, MBA ’72)
Honoring Bernard Richards ’49
Please consider donating to the Baruch College Fund in Bernard Richards’s memory. Your support secures the Baruch experience for future generations of students and creates lasting opportunities at your alma mater.