Steven Lazarus 1931 – 2018

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We are sad to announce the passing of ARCH’s founder, Steve Lazarus. He created ARCH, inspired us all, and we will miss him greatly. All great institutions have a deep sense of who they are, and why they do what they do, and ARCH’s determination today is a direct result of Steve’s leadership.

Steve created ARCH at the University of Chicago with Walter Massey and the Trustees. It was an experiment that most thought would not work. Steve bet on an unlikely mix of inexperienced but enthusiastic business school students to work at ARCH—Bob Nelsen, Keith Crandell and a short time later, Clint Bybee. As he used to say, “Our track record is all in front of us”.

Steve dedicated his professional career to the study of global government and business, the promotion of research, the advancement of technology, and the introduction of promising ideas into the marketplace. He graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and held a master’s degree with high distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. While at Harvard, he was selected as a Baker Scholar.

In his early career as a Naval officer, Steve moved among the ranks of both the military and political arenas to both found and act as the first director for the U.S. government’s Bureau of East-West Trade. He worked closely with top officials, including heads of state, to formulate official trade policies and align trade practices between the U.S., China, the Soviet Union, and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe. Prior to his appointment, Steve held a number of government positions, including deputy assistant secretary of commerce for East-West Trade, executive secretary of the Joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. Commercial Commission and the Joint Polish-American Trade Commission, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for International Planning, and director of planning for the U.S. Maritime Administration. He retired from the Navy in 1973 with the rank of Captain.

Steve joined the private business sector in 1974 as executive vice president of the International Division of Travenol Laboratories, then Baxter Travenol’s principal domestic operating subsidiary. He became Group Vice President of the Health Care Services Group in 1985.

In 1986, he was recruited by officials from The University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory to develop and lead their coordinated technology transfer effort. He was named Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business of The University of Chicago, and was the founding President and CEO of the Argonne-Chicago (ARCH) Development Corporation.

Steve pioneered a successful commercialization strategy that benefited both the academic institutions and the scientists behind the research. In 1992, he organized a friendly separation from the university and formed a private venture partnership, ARCH Venture Partners, which has partnered with the most influential academic institutions, national research and corporate laboratories, scientists, and entrepreneurs to build more than 230 companies.

Steve served as a board member for multiple firms, including Rand Corporation, National Venture Capital Association, Amgen Corp. (AMGN), National Association of Corporate Directors, and was also the former Chairman of the Board of Northwestern Hospital Healthcare Network in Chicago. Other professional and civic activities included serving as a graduate level instructor at George Washington University, membership on the Council of Foreign Relations in both New York and Chicago, and executive board member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, among others.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Arlene, three sons, Paul (Kitty), Scott (Julie) and Jeff (Julia), and 4 grandchildren. He was a lifelong supporter of the theater, film, and larger fine arts community where, to his great delight, his sons are all active.

Steve was a wonderful, positive person. He imbued that positive philosophy, and his love of science, into the DNA of the firm. He is the reason ARCH has been so successful in taking big risks and making deep impact.

We intend to secure his legacy by continuing to do just that. Our track record is still ahead of us.

Rest In Peace, Steve.

ARCH Partners and Employees
Bob Nelsen, Keith Crandell, Clint Bybee, Kristina Burow, Steve Gillis, Paul Thurk, Mark McDonnell, Melanie Simms, Tracy Carroll, Julie McDonnell, Tracey Pinsoneault, Julie Shrader, Jill Williams, Ed Ho, David Cruikshank, Tom Brennan, Ari Nowacek, Sean Kendall, Alex Reynolds, Allison Hurst, Keith Lenden, Troy Carroll