UC Berkeley alumnus Richard N. Goldman, a visionary philanthropist and dedicated supporter of the Haas School and university, passed away in San Francisco on Nov. 28. at the age of 90.
Goldman and his wife and fellow Cal alum, Rhoda, joined Rhoda's brothers–Walter Haas Jr. and Peter Haas–in giving the cornerstone contribution to build the Haas School's current campus and to name the school in memory of their father Walter A. Haas Sr.
In addition, the Goldmans provided cornerstone support to UC Berkeley’s School of Public Policy, which was renamed in their honor in 1997.
The couple's legacy also includes the Goldman Environmental Prize, often considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for environmental heroism. The prize annually awards $150,000 to six grassroots environmental heroes, one from each of the world's inhabited regions. Since its inception in 1991, the prize has awarded $13.2 million to 139 recipients from 79 countries.
"Richard was an invaluable adviser to me and to previous chancellors, and his loss is deeply felt by all who came in contact with him," Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said in statement released Nov. 30. "His immeasurable contributions reflect a deep commitment to all members of the campus community, from student athletes to international scholars, and from financially needy undergraduates to world-class faculty. Richard possessed a broad understanding of what is necessary to achieve access and excellence at UC Berkeley."
Goldman founded and was chairman of Goldman Insurance Services, which was acquired by Willis Group Holdings in 2001. He and his wife, who passed away in 1996, oversaw a charitable foundation created in 1951 that has awarded half a billion dollars to a variety of organizations that strive to make the world a better and safer place.
In addition to his support of Haas and the School of Public Policy, Goldman's love of Cal athletics included crucial support for the construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center at Memorial Stadium and the refinishing of Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium, Birgeneau noted in his statement.
Goldman served on the Chancellor’s Executive Advisory Council and as an emeritus trustee of the UC Berkeley Foundation. This year the Cal Alumni Association recognized Goldman as its Alumnus of the Year. He was part of a multigenerational Cal family that included his father, his son, and two grandchildren, who just graduated in May.