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Rise Above: Remembering Richard Jaffe

In the heart of Philadelphia's startup ecosystem, there existed a man whose dedication to his city and commitment to its forward progress left an indelible mark on all who knew him. Richard Jaffe wasn’t just a leader but a friend and a visionary whose impact across the region will be felt for years to come and whose legacy will continue to inspire.

As current and former Board Chairs of the Science Center, we honor and pay tribute to our predecessor, Richard. We called Richard a colleague and friend for more than two decades and will never forget his dedication and unwavering commitment to elevating the power and potential of the innovative minds that permeate every corner of our city.

It’s impossible not to recall his infectious smile, his subtle humor that could light up any room, and of course, his bowtie.

Richard's tenure as Chairman of the Science Center Board was marked by resilience and adaptability, navigating through multiple CEO transitions without losing sight of the mission, core values, and ability for an organization like the Science Center to be a convener of stakeholders and a change agent for good. He championed this phrase, “Rise above” as he encouraged the individual institutions to set aside their respective interests for the collective good.

Richard had a vision for what the Science Center could be and the drive and passion to see it happen. His vision laid the foundation for its success today and solidified its role as a premiere catalyst for entrepreneurial activity in Philadelphia.

It’s clear that Richard’s legacy extends far beyond his tenure as Chairman of the Science Center.

Richard's zest for life was evident to all who knew him. He approached every challenge with a tenacity that was truly admirable. Despite his own struggles, he remained a beacon of positivity, offering words of encouragement and support to those around him. His resilience serves as a testament to the strength of his character, the depth of his spirit, and his ability to rise above.

In the summer of 2022, Richard sent several of us an email that encapsulates his character.

“When I reflect on my “events,” tears do well up in my eyes. What I experienced is so diametrically opposed to how I perceive my health and how I try to live my life. But the unexpected is just that! One can never predict what challenges, experiences, and unforeseen events you will encounter in life.

I have learned to try to meet each of life’s challenges with a positive, thoughtful, and forthright attitude.”

This is the essence of Richard and the lessons we take from his remarkable life.

Thank you, Richard, for your friendship, your leadership, and your enduring legacy.

Craig Carnaroli, Senior Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania, served as Chairman of the Science Center Board of Directors from 2011-2019 and remains on the Board as a Vice Chair and member of the Executive Committee.

Mike DiPiano, Managing General Partner and Co-founder of NewSpring, has served as Chairman of the Science Center since 2019 and has served as a Board Member since 2005.