Houston philanthropist and businessman dies at 93

Houston philanthropist and renowned investment adviser Fayez Sarofim died Saturday, according to a spokeswoman for his family. He was 93 years old.

At one time, Sarofim was the richest man in Houston, amassing wealth after founding the investment advisory firm Fayez Sarofim & Co. in 1958, which today is one of the largest private companies in Houston. this guy in the country.

Fayez was born in Egypt and eventually earned a degree in food technology from the University of California and an MBA from Harvard University. Within five years of launching his business, Sarofim was managing a corporate retirement fund for Brown & Root and the Rice University endowment, then valued at $63 million.

Forbes estimated he was worth $1.6 billion in May.

His work managing investments from Rice University, the National Gallery and other major charities has also given way to significant charitable contributions, said Gary Tinterow, director of the National Gallery. He pledged $77 million to the MFAH’s $450 million expansion, and the campus now bears his name.

“He is certainly one of Houston’s most significant and influential philanthropists of the past 50 years,” Tinterow said. “His role at the museum has been extraordinary.”

Tinterow said Sarofim had a “funny” sense of humor but was a man of few words, earning him the nickname “the Sphinx”. When he spoke, he often threw zingers that had the room bursting into laughter.

He was also an avid art collector and spent much of his free time in galleries.

The Texas Business Hall of Fame honored Sarofim for his successes and charitable donations.

He has served on the board of directors of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and is a former director of the Alley Theater, the Houston Ballet Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and a former chairman and former vice chairman of the board of trustees. of Houston. Symphony Society. Additionally, Sarofim is a former Rockefeller University Council member.

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