Jerome Chazen

Position title: Chazen Capital Partners, Chair

Honorary Degree conferred:
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D), 2018

As a founding partner and later chairman of Liz Claiborne Inc., Jerome Chazen is credited with helping to revolutionize retail with innovative approaches to sales, marketing, distribution and licensing.

The company, founded in 1975, brought stylish, quality and affordable clothing to the huge influx of women entering the workforce at the time. By 1989, Fortune magazine recognized it as the largest women’s apparel company in the country. Chazen served as chairman from 1989 to 1996.

During his tenure at the company, he inaugurated a foundation to eradicate domestic violence, making Liz Claiborne one of the first major corporations to identify domestic violence as a serious problem and to put its financial muscle behind efforts to address it. He later served on the first National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women.

Today, he is chairman of Chazen Capital Partners, a private investment firm he founded in New York City.

While succeeding in business, Chazen has been driven, with his wife Simona, to better the world through philanthropy. The two met as undergraduates at UW–Madison, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1948.

He credits a UW–Madison art history course with awakening his interest in the visual arts. In 2011, the Chazen Museum of Art opened at UW–Madison. The couple provided the lead gift and have made a promised gift of much of their art collection. They also have endowed the Simona and Jerome Chazen Distinguished Chair in Art History and the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art. Mr. Chazen serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

At Columbia Business School, where Chazen earned his MBA, he established the Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business, which serves as a hub for the school’s international initiatives. He is a major supporter of the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, where he is chairman emeritus. The Chazens also are involved in many other civic and cultural organizations in the New York area and nationally.