Philanthropist views ASU stadium reinvention as expansion opportunity for Sun Devil Nation
Editor’s note: This story is one in a series of profiles of individuals being honored as part of the ASU Alumni Association’s 2017 Founders’ Day celebration on March 16. Visit the Alumni Association’s website to read the entire series.
Jack D. Furst is being honored at Founders’ Day 2017 with the Philanthropist of the Year Award, presented by the ASU Foundation For A New American University, for his vision, leadership and philanthropy at Arizona State University. Due to his involvement as a lead donor in the Sun Devil Stadium reinvention project, ASU has raised more than $80 million dollars toward that effort. In addition to enlisting others to support the project, Furst has contributed significantly to fulfill his passion and commitment to the role of athletics in higher education.
“When finished, the conversion ... will transform ASU's most recognizable physical asset on campus into its largest relational asset,” said Furst. “The stadium will have the potential to connect students, faculty, administrators, alums, patrons, donors, residents of Tempe and surrounding Arizona cities to the spirit of the Sun Devil Nation 365 days a year. The project is relational, smart, strategic, sustainable and stakeholder-oriented as well as innovative!”
Furst is a distinguished private equity investor, with more than 30 years of investment experience. After graduating from ASU in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the W. P. Carey School of Business, he began his career as a financial consultant at Price Waterhouse in Phoenix. After receiving his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1984, he went to Wall Street to work for the First Boston Corp. as an associate in the corporate finance and merger groups. He returned home to Dallas in 1987 to join the leverage buyout firm of Hicks & Haas Inc., becoming a vice president and subsequently a partner with the firm. In 1989, Furst became one of the founding partners of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Incorporated, which specialized in making private equity investments in companies serving the energy, financial services, food, manufacturing and media sectors.
Currently, Furst is the founder and CEO of Oak Stream Investors, which was launched in 2008. The office manages Furst’s investments in real estate, oil and gas, fixed income securities, venture and public and private equities. He serves as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas and at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he teaches finance and investment-related courses.
Furst serves on the board of directors for several companies, as well as serving as an executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a 1998 Henry Crown Fellow, a fellowship of leaders that is administered by the Aspen Institute. He was inducted into W. P. Carey School of Business Hall of Fame in 1999 and received the W. P. Carey School of Business 2008 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.
Furst credits ASU with helping him learn the skills that have made him a successful investor.
“ASU was a great practice field,” he said. “It gave me some of the confidence required to pursue a career as a deal-maker in the world of finance. … Ultimately, I wanted to become a distinguished investor and contribute to ideas and people working as a team to build companies worthy of investment. Without a doubt, ASU helped me achieve my dream.”
In addition to his commitment to the conversion of Sun Devil Stadium into a multi-purpose/mixed-use facility, he endowed the Jack D. Furst Professor of Finance in 2003, and sponsored the Furst Honors Scholarship for an undergraduate honors student completing a thesis in private equity financing.