Loyola University Chicago

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Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., chairman
of Loyola University Chicago’s
Board of Trustees, Dies at 68
Loyola Double Alumnus and Former Dean of Loyola School of Business fondly remembered by colleagues and students

CHICAGO, December 19, 2019 — Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., chairman of Loyola University Chicago’s Board of Trustees, died peacefully on December 19 after a brief illness surrounded by family. He was 68 years old. 

“Bob’s impact on the entire Loyola community, most especially our students, is truly immeasurable,” said Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola University Chicago. “He was an extraordinarily passionate and compassionate servant leader who inspired all of us with his energy, enthusiasm, wisdom, and wit. Bob was our #1 Rambler, always attentive to how we enliven our mission to benefit students and make Loyola alumni proud. I, along with our extended Loyola family, am heartbroken over his passing.”

At the time of his death, Parkinson was Chairman Emeritus of Baxter International Inc., a multinational Fortune 500 company that manufactures and sells a vast array of products essential to global healthcare. He served as Chairman and CEO of Baxter for nearly 12 years, retiring in 2015. Under his leadership, Baxter generated shareholder returns significantly outperforming industry benchmarks. Baxter also enhanced its status as a leader in corporate social responsibility and environmental awareness during this period, earning leadership recognition in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the Global 100 and a range of other noted sustainability rankings. 

In 2014, Parkinson received the Chicago Bridge Award from Chicago United for his work on inclusion and diversity at his company and in the community. We are in the business of saving and sustaining lives worldwide, he said at the time. “Global inclusion is not just good business practice. It enhances Baxter’s ability to develop new life-saving technologies today and for years to come.” 

Prior to his tenure at Baxter, Parkinson was Dean of Loyola University Chicago’s School of Business and had a distinguished 25-year career at Abbott Laboratories, where he served in a broad range of senior leadership positions, culminating in the role of President and Chief Operating Officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Loyola University Chicago, forming the roots of a relationship that would continue to this day. In addition to serving Loyola’s Board of Trustees, he was active on the boards of directors of the Executives Club of Chicago, Junior Achievement of Chicago, and First Robotics, and on the advisory board of Catholic Charities. 

Parkinson received his bachelor’s degree in business from Loyola in 1973, and an MBA in 1975. Bob met his wife Betty when they were both students and resident advisors at Loyola. Bob and Betty’s commitment to Loyola has had a transformative impact on all aspects of the University. Their extraordinary philanthropy encompassed a variety of areas—including student scholarships, academic programs, athletics, and student services—and reflects Bob and Betty’s shared passion for Jesuit, Catholic education and for inspiring the next generation of women and men to be of service in our world.

The Parkinson family’s 2018 $20-million gift to establish the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health has positioned Loyola as a leader in addressing some of the most urgent issues of our time and will have a lasting impact on lives, families, and communities for generations to come. They were also among the founding donors of Loyola’s Arrupe College, an innovative two-year college lauded for its success rate with first generation students from underserved communities. 

Loyola will hold a Mass of Remembrance in Parkinson’s honor in early 2020. Parkinson is survived by his wife and four children. 

About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with more than 16,600 students. Nearly 11,500 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 14 schools, colleges, and institutes, including Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, Quinlan School of Business, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, and Stritch School of Medicine. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.



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