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Stanford mourns loss of David Packard

STANFORD -- David Packard, a Silicon Valley pioneer and noted philanthropist whose generous contributions to his alma mater helped build Stanford University into one of the nation's preeminent research universities, died on Tuesday, March 26, at the age of 83.

President Gerhard Casper described Packard as one of Stanford's "staunchest friends and supporters for a period that extended almost two thirds of the university's existence. His contributions to Stanford have touched nearly every part of our academic endeavor, nourishing and replenishing us year after year. Through children and grandchildren, the Packard family ties with the university will continue into an indeterminate future."

Packard is survived by four children: David Woodley Packard, Nancy Ann Packard Burnett, Susan Packard Orr and Julie Elizabeth Stephens. His wife, Lucile Packard, died in 1987.

A graduate of the Class of 1934 who played with the football squad's famed "Vow Boys," Packard founded Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1939 with fellow alumnus William Hewlett. The electronics industry pioneers launched the company in Packard's garage with $538. It has since grown to become Silicon Valley's largest employer with 100,000 employees and revenues last year of more than $31 billion.

From his early days as an undergraduate in the engineering department to his 15-year stint on the Board of Trustees, to his generous donations to Stanford, Packard remained deeply committed to his alma mater. His wife, Lucile, played an active role in the family's charitable foundation. Through it, the family made extensive donations to community organizations in support of education, health care, conservation and the arts.

"Dave Packard, along with his wife, Lucile, and his partner, Bill Hewlett, have shaped and nurtured this university in ways that can only be compared to the founders, Jane and Leland Stanford," said John Ford, vice president for development. "In the process of caring for Stanford, and investing in so many other important philanthropic endeavors, Dave Packard has set a philanthropic standard for generations to come. It has been a rare privilege to work with Dave on Stanford's behalf."

Packard and Hewlett made personal donations of more than $300 million to Stanford University. They contributed $77.4 million in 1994 for the construction of a state-of-the-art science and engineering complex, scheduled for completion in 1999. They also helped build a new home for the School of Engineering, a gift in the name of their mentor, the late Frederick Terman, whose support played an essential role in the founding of their company.

In 1986, the Packards made a personal $40 million "cornerstone" pledge to the construction of the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, which opened in June 1991. At the same time, they also donated $30 million to Stanford University and the School of Medicine to modernize perinatal facilities and pediatric research laboratories. The Packards made an additional $25 million donation in 1993 to the university to advance knowledge in pediatrics and expand clinical services for children.

Building on his love of marine biology and the family's creation of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey Bay Research Institute, Packard contributed a large gift for new facilities and equipment for Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station at Pacific Grove. A star athlete during his undergraduate days, he also contributed major donations for the construction of Maples Pavilion, the DeGuerre Pool and the Ford Center for Sports and Recreation.

"Dave Packard also invested in people," Ford said.

The Packards funded three professorships at Stanford - in the fields of business, marine science and literature. With Hewlett, Dave Packard endowed the Terman Fellows program, which provides financial support to young science and engineering professors. Income from the Terman Fellows Fund, which was created in 1994, helps some of Stanford's brightest young faculty launch academic careers in science and engineering by providing three years of initial research funding.

Packard, a longtime member of the Hoover Institution Board of Overseers, also endowed the National Fellows Program at Hoover to bring scholars and public policy experts to Stanford to focus on national issues.

John Freidenrich, president of Stanford's Board of Trustees, said Packard will be remembered as a great citizen.

"He set extremely high standards in his philanthropy - and in his life," Freidenrich said.

Packard's boyhood interest in electricity and science attracted him to the emerging field of radio engineering. The son of a midwestern lawyer, Packard was lured to Stanford, in part, by a textbook on radio engineering that was written by Terman, then a young professor at Stanford.

As an undergraduate at Stanford in the early 1930s, Packard spent much of his time on the football field. Following a varsity football loss to USC in 1932, the freshman team, which later joined Packard on the varsity, vowed never to be defeated by USC. During their three years as varsity players, the "Vow Boys" never lost to USC. They compiled a 25-4-2 record and they played in three Rose Bowls. In 1958, Packard was selected as a member of Sports Illustrated magazine's Silver Anniversary All-America team.

But football wasn't Packard's only extracurricular activity. He set records in track as a freshman, received a varsity letter in basketball, and served on the executive committee of the Associated Students of Stanford University during his junior year. Despite these widespread commitments, he excelled in his studies and received membership in Phi Beta Kappa and the engineering honor societies, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi.

During college breaks, Packard held several summer jobs in Colorado, from dynamiting for gold to handling 1,000 pound blocks of ice brought in from a lake. In his sophomore year, he met his future wife, Lucile Salter, in her sorority house, where he had taken a job washing dishes.

The couple was married in 1938 in Schenectady, N.Y., where Packard had landed a job with General Electric's vacuum tube engineering department. At the urging of Terman, Packard took a leave from his job later that year to return to Stanford on a fellowship.

During this time, he renewed his friendship with Hewlett, who also had returned to Stanford to pursue graduate studies in electrical engineering. The two friends decided to make good on a previous pledge they had struck during a hiking trip in Colorado to start a business together someday.

"It was as much Dave's business sense and drive as Bill Hewlett's creative genius in the scientific field that made Hewlett-Packard such an outstanding international success and the 'HP Way' so envied and copied everywhere," said Lyle Nelson, director of university relations from 1961 to 1972.

Packard served as president or chairman of the board from the date of the company's incorporation in 1947 until his retirement in 1993, taking a leave of absence from 1969 to 1971 to serve as deputy secretary of the U.S. Defense Department during the first Nixon administration.

A strong patron of education, he also served on the Palo Alto School Board from 1947 to 1956 and was a member of Stanford's Board of