Growing up during the turmoil of World War II, Frederick Pardee began dreaming of peace among nations and a better human condition. The School of Management nurtured his vision; he studied Lewis Mumford, the famous historian of technology and cities, who Pardee says inspired him as “a dreamer of the future.” After graduating in 1954 and a stint in the Air Force, he took a $7,500-a-year economist’s job at the nonprofit RAND Corporation, where the number crunching he learned at BU served him well as he analyzed social, political, and economic problems.
He segued into a lucrative career running an apartment building management firm in Los Angeles. But Pardee (SMG’54, GSM’54, Hon.’06) never forgot the past, and he was captivated by the possibilities of the future, which explains in part why he gave money to establish the University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future in 2000. Now, as part of the Campaign for Boston University, the University’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, he has given another $7 million to support the center’s work and global education at BU, boosting his total donations to the Campaign to $10 million.
“I was very appreciative of the fact that BU provided me with a scholarship,” Pardee says. “My time at BU would have been much more difficult had I had to work between classes.” The Pardee Center fulfills his aspirations for his legacy, he adds, because “global human progress is what I’m interested in.”
“The funds will help support the activities of the center, which is one of our most important interdisciplinary academic efforts,” says Jean Morrison, provost and chief academic officer. The gift “expands the capacity of the center to support important research and scholarship in global studies. One of the critical aspects the Pardee Center focuses on is the human condition, and how we can work to improve the quality of the human condition. There are many places around the globe where the quality of people’s lives—with disease and famine—should not be acceptable in 2013.”
The Pardee Center has a new director, Anthony Janetos, who arrives in May. Janetos is a Princeton-trained ecologist with nearly three decades of experience researching and doing policy analysis on the impact of global climate change. He comes from the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland, where he has been director since 2006.
The most recent gift brings Pardee’s lifetime contributions to the University to almost $20 million, says Glenn Vivian, director of planned giving at Development and Alumni Relations. “That puts him on a list of some of our strongest supporters.”
The gifts have also made Pardee’s name ubiquitous on campus. Beyond his namesake center (headquartered in the Pardee House) and its named professorship, the School of Management library is named for him, as is a research fund. He also donated to a fund that paid for a global health conference.
Pardee, a native of Bolton, Mass., brought a rigorous work ethic with him to BU, where he studied summers and carried extra courses to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at the same time. He has been similarly generous to RAND, donating money for an analogue to the Pardee Center and for RAND’s graduate school in public policy—which was renamed the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School.