Beloved business dean still transforming lives

KIP

 

Dr. Richard de Raismes Kip is remembered for many things at the University. Some stories recall the bow-tie-loving professor walking through UNF buildings and turning off lights in empty classrooms. Other stories detail how he shunned purchasing lunch, preferring instead to bring his lunch every day — a yogurt, a banana and a bag of marshmallows.

    However, Kip’s legendary frugality had its benefits, especially for what is now the Coggin College of Business. Today the UNF Foundation has eight endowments carrying the Kip name with a total value of more than $3.3 million. The impact of these endowments has been transformational, said Dr. Earle Traynham, a former colleague of Kip’s.

    “This remarkable man, in his quiet and understated way, transformed the College of Business, benefitting faculty and students alike,” said Traynham, who served as the college’s dean from 1993 to 2003.

   Kip’s legacy also presents a valuable lesson as the University’s Power of Transformation campaign moves toward its $110 million goal. The versatility built into the agreement gave the college the ability to adjust to changing needs. “When Dick made the original gift, he had no idea of the magnitude of changes that would occur in the world of business,” Traynham said. “It shows the importance of a donor structuring a gift to be flexible.”

    That flexibility was evident in Kip’s early life. Born in Brooklyn, he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance. He later joined the faculty there and taught until 1941, when he enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Army. After being discharged in 1946 as a major, he returned to Wharton where he earned his doctorate in economics while teaching. In 1958 he was recruited to Florida State University, which was trying to build up its business school. He later joined the staff of the Florida Board of Regents and became familiar with a new university being planned in Jacksonville.

He arrived at UNF in 1971— well before the students began enrolling — and helped founding dean Jim Parrish build the College of Business. He served in a variety of roles, including assistant dean and director of Graduate Studies before retiring in 1983, completing a 47-year career in education.

    It was after his retirement, however, that the surprises began. In 1989 he gave his wife, Kathryn Magee Kip, a card on her 85th birthday. The card contained an agreement establishing a $100,000 UNF endowment in her name in the College of Business. That was quickly followed by a second endowment in his name.

    Although the original endowments called for revenue to go into a finance or financial services professorship, Traynham said he quickly realized the endowments were generating more income than the University wanted to concentrate in one area. Traynham met with Kip and an amended agreement was signed providing UNF with more flexibility.

    However, that wasn’t the end of the surprises. Unbeknownst to anyone at UNF, Kip established several charitable remainder trusts allowing him, his wife and a few relatives to receive the income with the University receiving the principal after their death.

    When Kip and his wife both died in 1996, the full extent of their generosity became apparent. The UNF Foundation received more than $2.8 million. “Dick never wanted any recognition. We were astounded when we realized the scope of the gifts,” Traynham said.

The college has used the money slowly and deliberately not only to recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty to UNF, but to help students as well. A Kip Prize exists to this day to reward outstanding business students. Funds also were given to faculty to undertake research during summer months.

    “It enabled us to compete against much larger schools. No state funds were available for research at the time. It helped us recruit some wonderful faculty members,” Traynham said.

    Ultimately, Traynham emphasized, students benefited from Kip’s generosity because of the quality of the professors in the college. This gentle, humble man was widely loved on campus and his ability to provide transformational experiences will continue long into the future.