Business magnate and longtime supporter of USC Joseph Aresty died March 13. He was 95.
Aresty and his wife, Catherine, have been longtime, generous benefactors to USC, supporting the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. The school’s Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology has borne its name since 2001, when the couple made a substantial naming gift.
“Mr. Aresty was a remarkable man, hugely accomplished and successful, compassionate, kind and giving. Along with his wife, Catherine, he was always grateful for the care he received at USC over the years,” said Inderbir Gill, MD, executive director of the USC Institute of Urology and Distinguished Professor and chair of the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology.
“His passing is a tremendous loss to our university, our Institute and to the many thousands of patients who benefited from the research that his philanthropic support made possible,” Gill said. “We are grateful for the friendship of the Aresty family. We will remember Mr. Aresty’s generosity and spirit for years to come.”
Born on May 6, 1922, in Rochester, New York, Aresty graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1943. He served the U.S. Army Air Corps as a staff sergeant during WWII, during which he was based in England and flew reconnaissance missions.
Aresty went into the clothing retail business after the war and worked his way up to vice president of men’s accessories at Macy’s. He joined what was then a new apparel manufacturing company called Alfred Dunner Inc. as an equity partner in 1962 and helped grow the business into one of the largest privately-owned clothing manufacturers in the U.S. The company remains family owned and continues to this day.
He and his wife contributed heavily to numerous institutions, including USC, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Rochester and Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Joseph and Catherine Aresty went on to create the Catherine & Joseph Aresty Foundation in order to help fund education and community projects throughout the New York metropolitan area.
In 1994, Aresty sought out Donald Skinner, MD, the inaugural chairman of the Department of Urology at USC after he was diagnosed with cancer. With the help of Skinner’s team, Aresty defeated cancer twice.
Reflecting on his significant donations in 2001, Joseph Aresty described his intentions. “My hope was that these sums would, in some way, help future patients afflicted with urologic malignancies, and that research would someday conquer this dreadful disease,” he said.
In addition to his wife, Aresty is survived by sons, Peter and Steven, daughter-in-law Roseanne, and five grandchildren.
A special tribute to his life will be held on the Health Sciences Campus.
— Brian Day