seal2002 Honorary Degree

Eugene R. Jaffe

Doctor Of Management

Eugene R. Jaffe has distinguished himself as a philanthropic business leader and outstanding community participant, helping people throughout northwest Indiana.

Eugene R. Jaffe

Mr. Jaffe, who is retired and living in Westville, Ind., owns property adjacent to the Purdue University North Central campus.

He is a person with great respect for higher education and the benefits that education brings. Even though he was unable to attend college himself due to the Great Depression, he has provided the funding necessary to help more than 50 members of his family receive a college education.

Born in Atlanta, Ga., in 1914, Mr. Jaffe spent his early years in Georgia and Alabama before moving to Chicago with his family at age 16. As the eldest son, he worked with his father in the family’s mail order/printing business. Because of his sacrifice his two younger sisters were able to go to college.

After serving in World War II as part of the Merchant Marines, Mr. Jaffe, with financial help from his father, rescued a nearly bankrupt Indiana corporation, Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company in Hammond, Ind. By preserving this business through savvy mail-order marketing techniques, he created opportunities for thousands of northwest Indiana citizens to build their careers and be productive.

Mr. Jaffe created a business environment that incorporated many firsts for employees, such as a 401(k) plan, flexible work time, open door policies and company celebrations. His firm received honors from the Indiana Department of Insurance as a "best run" Indiana company.

As time went on, Mr. Jaffe expanded his holdings, creating Guarantee Associates, a diverse group of investments that included golf courses, farms, hotels, strip malls, medical supply corporations and manufacturing companies. Continuing the traditions set by his father, Mr. Jaffe conducted both his personal and professional life guided by the principal of family togetherness. At one time, he had as many as 54 members of his own family working for him.

When time came to sell the insurance company in 1997, Mr. Jaffe was concerned for the interests of his employees and sold the business to a party which promised to keep it in northwest Indiana and to retain all the current personnel.

Mr. Jaffe is a quiet philanthropist, giving generously to a variety of causes, including PNC, Boy Scouts of America, Salvation Army, United Jewish Appeal, Community Hospital, Lions Club, Chick Evans Scholarship and the United Way.