Impact of Giving

These are the stories of the individuals and foundations who help advance Chicago medicine and science through their vision and philanthropy.

David S. Fox Jr., MBA '77  

Donor Stories

Doctor's Final Testament

From birth to death, the University of Chicago was a mainstay for David S. Fox Sr., MD ’44. Born at the University of Chicago Lying-In Hospital in 1922, Fox Sr. later graduated from the University’s Medical School and went on to become a well-respected general surgeon at Woodlawn Hospital. And when he became ill in his later years, the Medical Center is where he returned for his health care.

“He just always loved the University of Chicago,” says his son, David S. Fox Jr., MBA ’77. “He was a patient of the University in the various clinics, and he just wouldn’t go anyplace else.”

Fox Sr. died in April 2009, and, as a final tribute to the University, he funded a charitable remainder trust for nearly $265,000 with the Pritzker School of Medicine as the beneficiary.

“My dad and I share the belief that it’s important to give back,” Fox Jr. says. “It’s almost a civic duty for people who have done well in life."

Father Influential to Family
As president of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, IL, Fox Jr., as well as his five other siblings, have done well in life. That success, he says, stems from his parents’ strict work-hard philosophy. “We all used to joke about dad’s use of the term 'deferred gratification,' Fox Jr. says. “Deferred gratification meant you did your homework before you went out to play.”

Although he chose not to follow directly in his father’s footsteps, it’s no surprise that Fox Jr. pursued a career in the medical profession. He and his twin brother would often accompany his father on house calls to post-operative patients. Later in his high school years, Fox Jr. actually joined his father at Woodlawn Hospital as a summer vacation fill-in holding down several roles including switchboard operator, Medicare biller, and operating room orderly.

“What I recognized was that the people I encountered at the hospital were all very bright, very dedicated, very hard-working, and seemed to like what they did, so I chose to go into the management side of health care because, frankly, I wanted a career where I wasn’t going to be getting phone calls at 2:00 in the morning on a regular basis,” he says.

His father, on the other hand, didn’t mind the frequency of phone calls, and typically worked seven days a week because of his love for the profession. “In fact, on occasion, he would say that he would have done what he did for free if necessary, but we were all relieved that he actually got something for it,” jokes Fox Jr.

Continuing connection to university
A graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Fox Jr., says he was thrilled to be accepted to the MBA program since he’d grown up in the shadows of the University. Two of his siblings also attended the University’s Lab School.

Raised at 54th Street and Drexel Ave. in Hyde Park, his father really felt strongly about remaining in the city to provide health care to others. Former president of the Chicago Medical Society and the Illinois State Medical Society, he often spent quality time with his family in the neighborhood and particularly at the University.

“Growing up, we would have brunch at one of the clubs over at the University so as a family we’d get ushered into those hallowed halls. It was just always in his blood,” Fox Jr. says.

Like his father, Fox Jr. is adamant about living a life that matters and one that also involves giving back. “I’m a believer that you should leave your community better than you found it,” he says. “I think it was Socrates who said that an unexamined life isn’t worth living. I think my father felt fortunate at the end of his life that he was able to give to the University of Chicago, and to his children. This was just his way of saying thanks.”

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