Former RAND Employee Frederick S. Pardee Donates $10 Million to RAND Graduate School, Which Now Bears His Name
December 4, 2003
In appreciation of the Pardee donation, the graduate school has been renamed the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS). The school is part of RAND, a nonprofit research corporation.
The gift by Pardee is the largest ever made by an individual to RAND and one of the largest gifts ever by an individual to a single Ph.D. program in the United States.
Pardee worked as an economic analyst at RAND from 1957 to 1971 and went on to become a successful real estate investor. He recalled that when he joined RAND 46 years ago, he was making $7,500 a year and never imagined he would ever be in a position to donate millions of dollars to support the work of his employer.
The Pardee gift will be added to the endowment of PRGS, which stood at $4.3 million before the new donation, ensuring that PRGS remains self-supporting. Founded in 1970 as one of America's original eight graduate programs in public policy and the only one based at a think tank, PRGS has awarded more doctorates in policy analysis than any other institution.
“This generous gift ensures that the Pardee RAND Graduate School will continue its outstanding work and produce graduates who will help build a better world and help find solutions to the greatest challenges facing humankind,” Thomson said.
“I don't consider this a gift to RAND,” Pardee said. “I consider it a gift to the world, because PRGS graduates will work to change the world for the better. I'm not in the dream business, but I do believe it's possible to help shape the future and improve the lot of the least advantaged with creative thinking by talented people, like the graduates of the RAND Graduate School.”
Pardee, who is 71, donated $5 million to RAND in 2001 to create the RAND Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. The center works to explore trends and potential developments in the world 35 to 200 years into the future. Pardee earlier donated $10 million to create a similar center for the study of the future at Boston University. The philanthropist earned bachelor's and master's degrees from BU's School of Management in 1954.
“I have a genuine interest in improving the human condition and in the future,” Pardee said. “Most academics are more interested in analyzing the past than the future. RAND has the best school for policy analysis within the best think tank in the world, and can really make a difference in building a better future.”
“I'm delighted to add the Pardee name to our school,” said PRGS Dean Robert Klitgaard. “He is a researcher at heart, he knows what we're about, and he's one of us. He has an inspiring vision for the way research can help the world. He wants to make sure that our portfolio of concerns includes looking into the future and considering the entire globe. Finally, he wants us to do research that will matter to the least advantaged. For all these reasons, we are proud that our school will bear his name.”
The graduate school has awarded 167 doctorates in policy analysis. Enrollment has expanded over the years and currently stands at 88 students.
The interdisciplinary doctorate in policy analysis is designed to train creative thinkers to play important roles in solving major problems facing the nation and the world. Rigorous courses all operate as seminars, and students get the opportunity to work alongside top RAND researchers on a broad range of projects as part of their on-the-job training.
All PRGS students receive fellowships that pay for all tuition costs and health care, and a stipend based on the work they perform on RAND research projects. Past graduates of PRGS have gone on to careers in government, business, non-profit institutions and academia.
After leaving RAND, Pardee went on to found PBM Quality Apartment Homes, a privately held investment firm that owns and operates apartment complexes in and around Los Angeles. But his fascination with the analysis of social, economic, political and technological change and his commitment to applying those insights for social benefit never flagged. Instead, they took on an increasingly far-flung character.
“I was never really interested in just making money,” Pardee said. “If I were, I would never have joined RAND in the first place. But I was fortunate, and my real estate investments grew in value. I want to give something back. I think about why I'm here. Why did I get placed on planet Earth? I've concluded that one is placed here to make a difference, and I want to make a difference by supporting institutions that will shape the future.”