Business

Former University of Kentucky dean Richard Furst dies

Richard Furst served as dean of the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics from 1981 until retiring in 2003.
Richard Furst served as dean of the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics from 1981 until retiring in 2003.

Richard Furst, the former long-time dean of the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics, died Saturday. He was 73.

Mr. Furst came to UK in 1981 to take the helm of the business school and stayed until his retirement in 2003. Under his watch, fund-raising and the college's profile advanced considerably, said Judy Haywood, an administrative officer who worked for him.

"He had a great commitment to the university and the goals of the college, and I think the thing that always struck me is he could face adversity and had the greatest energy to pull up his socks and get on with the next challenge," Haywood said. "He always kept charging ahead."

Mr. Furst engineered a $14 million donation from alumnus C.E. "Bill" Gatton that greatly expanded programming and the number of endowed chairs and professorships at the school. He also greatly expanded the international programs at the college, she said.

Haywood said Mr. Furst had suffered from a cancer of the blood for many years but continued his work through it.

"As long as he felt like he was charging ahead, that was his nature," Haywood said. "He never gave up."

Mr. Furst also served on numerous business and community boards, including iHigh, Central Bank, Lexington Opera Society and the Children Development Center of the Bluegrass.

Mr. Furst is survived by his wife, Janis Hatton Furst, and two daughters. A private memorial service for family will be held Friday, and a celebration of his life is being planned for friends. Kerr Brothers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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