Richard C. Blum, BS 58, MBA 59

Beloved UC Berkeley benefactor

Richard C. Blum waving.Richard C. Blum, a visionary leader and philanthropist, died at his home in San Francisco on February 27 at the age of 86. He is remembered for his profound impact that was felt from the nation’s capital to the Himalayas to his beloved alma mater and beyond.

“He was the type of man who really replaced his divot in life, who left things better than he found them,” said his wife of 42 years, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in a statement following his passing. “His enormous generosity is an inspiration for so many of us.”

After earning his MBA, Blum began a long and successful career in the world of finance, becoming a partner at the investment brokerage Sutro & Co. before turning 30 and later founding Blum Capital Partners, the equity investment management firm for which he served as CEO and chairman.

As a financier and philanthropist, he served on the boards of many companies and organizations, sharing his business acumen and his generosity. He also served as an economic policy adviser to Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama.

While Blum succeeded in business, he distinguished himself for his humanitarian efforts. For decades, he devoted much of his time to the people of the Himalayas, founding the American Himalayan Foundation to improve the lives of thousands of people in the region. Along the way, Blum befriended His Holiness the Dalai Lama and was named an honorary consul of Nepal.

Berkeley always remained especially close to Blum’s heart, and he was a generous donor to Haas and the university in addition to being a longtime member of the Haas School Board and UC Board of Regents, for which he was chairman emeritus.

He was named Haas’ Business Leader of the Year in 1994 and awarded Haas’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

In 2007, he founded the Blum Center for Developing Economies, which supports interdisciplinary education and research to address the causes and consequences of poverty. The success of the center in educating and inspiring a new generation of global citizens led to the establishment of similar Blum centers at other UC campuses. In 2009, campus awarded him the Berkeley Medal, the university’s highest honor, for his commitment to the alleviation of poverty in San Francisco and abroad.

A memorial service was held on March 4 in San Francisco. Contributions may be made in his honor to the American Himalayan Foundation.

Read a full statement from UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ.


Margery Locke, BS 47
Lloyd MacDonald, BS 47
Harlan Dupuis, BS 48
John White, BS 50
Stanley King, BS 51
Alfred Bottino, BS 52
Thomas Kunz, BS 52
Robert Larmer, BS 52
Paul Petruzzelli, BS 52
George Abernathy, BS 53
Thomas Brasel, BS 53
Bert Yarborough, BS 53
Duane Allen, BS 54, MBA 57
Milton Bruzzone, BS 54
Harold Jeffrey, BS 54
J Paul Woollomes, BS 54
Donald Cherry, BS 55
Richard Ralph, BS 55
Richard Sahagian, BS 55
Raymond Kellner, BS 56
Robert Sullivan, BS 59
Richard Dutton, BS 60
William Dewitt, BS 61
David Epstein, BS 61
Stanley Trilling, BS 61
Harvey Wittenberg, MBA 61
Kathleen Braunstein, BS 66
Eugene Trotter, BS 66
Frank Laak, BS 67
Stephen Roland, BS 67
Craig Berry, MBA 67
Frederick Nichols, MBA 67
Timothy Ryan, BS 70
James Hulsy, BS 71
William Sterry, MBA 71
Peter Reese, BS 72
William Martin, MBA 73
Cleaves Thompson, MBA 76
William Waller, MBA 79
Charles Wade, MBA 80
Marian Bamford Smith, MBA 82
Frances Draper, MBA 82
William Mitchell, PhD 88
Sigal Barsade, PhD 94
Patrick DeNeale, MBA 01
Robert Irlbeck, MBA 02
Yangyang Liu, BS 11
Virginia Andersen, Friend
Elinor Beck, Friend
Leilani Grinold, Friend
Dean Meyer, Friend