Obituary: Alvin Goldfarb, 91, WUSTL benefactor

Alvin Goldfarb, generous supporter of the University and recipient of an honorary doctorate in humanities, died Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008, at his home in Clayton, Mo. He was 91.

“Al Goldfarb will always be remembered as one of Washington University’s most important alumni,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “He demonstrated a great commitment to his profession, to St. Louis and to Washington University. We will forever be indebted to Al for his generous and thoughtful contributions.”

Goldfarb was the retired president of Worth Stores Corp., a St. Louis-based retailer of ladies’ apparel, and of the Alvin Goldfarb Foundation.

Goldfarb and his late wife, Jeannette Rudman Goldfarb, a graduate of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, were founding sponsors of the Scholars in Business Program in the John M. Olin School of Business. The Alvin and Jeanette Goldfarb scholarship has been an important part of that program since 1981.

The family also has supported a range of building projects on campus, including facilities at the John M. Olin School of Business, the Jeanette Goldfarb Plant Growth Facility and the Alvin Goldfarb Auditorium in James S. McDonnell Hall.

The building that houses the St. Louis Hillel Center adjacent to the University was named the Alvin and Jeanette Goldfarb House in recognition of the Goldfarbs’ support.

Alvin Goldfarb’s support also enabled the George Warren Brown School of Social Work to construct Alvin Goldfarb Hall, which opened in 1998.

“Al’s wonderful spirit and deep commitment to the work we do will always be remembered,” said Edward F. Lawlor, Ph.D., dean of the Brown School and the William E. Gordon Professor.

“His generous gift for Goldfarb Hall provided us with world-class facilities and propelled the modern era of the School. He cared greatly about issues of social justice and was enthusiastic in his belief that our research, education and training have social impact. He was a remarkable person who lived his values, and we are fortunate to have called him our friend,” Lawlor said.

Among his survivors are a daughter, Jane, a graduate of the Olin School of Business who lives in St. Louis; two sons, James and Robert, both of New York City; and five grandchildren.

A private memorial service and funeral was held Sept. 4.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Goldfarb School of Nursing, Barnes-Jewish College, 4483 Duncan Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 63110; the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Campus Box 1196, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63130-4899; or to a charity of the donor’s choice.