February 15, 2022

CGU Receives Historic $42 Million Commitment in Support of Entrepreneurship and the Humanities

PAYING IT FORWARD: Drucker alumnus Patrick F. Cadigan is the benefactor behind the largest gift in CGU history. "Dad felt a strong personal responsibility to give back to the schools that contributed to the man he became and to the high level of success he achieved,” Maria Cadigan said about her father.

Claremont Graduate University announces the largest philanthropic commitment in its nearly 100-year history—$42 million for the construction of a building that will become the new home for the university’s School of Arts & Humanities, as well as a nexus for entrepreneurial business faculty and students.

The gift comes from a foundation established by alumnus Patrick F. Cadigan, a real estate investor and former tech CEO who earned his master’s degree (1978) and PhD in management (1980) while studying under the legendary Peter Drucker, a longtime member of the faculty who is regarded as the father of modern management theory.

“Dad felt a strong personal responsibility to give back to the schools that contributed to the man he became and to the high level of success he achieved,” said Maria Cadigan about her father, who passed away in April 2020. “It deeply moves me when I think of CGU’s future generations of leaders working together and collaborating in the magnificent building that will be erected in his honor.”

Cadigan was one of the most active, largest private investors in apartment properties exclusively in Orange County, Calif., with a portfolio approaching $1 billion. He was highly regarded as “a savvy, unflinching investor who understood the importance of integrity and relationship-building in the deal-making process,” said Jim McKenzie of Greenwood & McKenzie, a real estate investment and management firm that represented Cadigan. “Those qualities contributed to some of his biggest successes.”

As a result of that success, Cadigan was able to support his alma maters with philanthropic investments, including the new one for CGU.

CGU’s new building will be located on a two-acre vacant lot just north of the university’s business school, which bears Drucker’s name. The space offers a blank canvas for the university to build on one of its core principles, transdisciplinary education, in which scholars across many fields and disciplines collaborate and innovate in response to society’s complex issues.

“This gift offers a tremendous opportunity for CGU to build something with form and function that inspires innovation and entrepreneurship,” said University President Len Jessup. “The working name in our master plan for the two-acre lot is the Da Vinci Project. That sets a high bar for what we want to accomplish, and thanks to Mr. Cadigan, that goal is within our reach.”

CGU is in the early stages of soliciting proposals for the building. Once a construction firm and architect have been selected, a timeline will be determined.

‘A Master Class in Strategy and Planning’

The $42 million commitment from the Patrick F. Cadigan Family Foundation comes on the heels of a $14 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to establish the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies, a research center that will serve vulnerable populations in the Inland Empire, Indian Country, and beyond.

“Together, these philanthropic investments really speak to the expertise of our faculty, the quality of our students, and CGU’s commitment to make a difference in the world,” Jessup said. “We are grateful that our alumni and friends believe so deeply in our mission.”

The seeds of the gift were planted during a 2019 visit with Cadigan by Jessup and Kristen Andersen-Daley, CGU’s vice president for development & external relations.

When asked about the university’s long-term goals, Jessup shared key elements of CGU’s master plan. Cadigan, a consummate businessman and investor, honed in on Jessup’s remarks about the university’s vacant lot where student housing once existed.

“Mr. Cadigan wanted to know what could be done with the property,” Andersen-Daley said. “We had a good talk with him about the possibilities. Given his extensive background as a real estate investor and developer, the conversation felt like a master class in strategy and planning.”

The Man Behind the Gift

Cadigan was already an experienced executive when he decided to return to college for advanced studies in management, and CGU (then Claremont Graduate School) was a natural choice, said Udo Henseler, a longtime friend who earned his doctorate alongside Cadigan in 1980.

“The entire Claremont Colleges atmosphere exudes a sense of trust, competence, history, and integrity,” Henseler said. “That atmosphere harmonized with Pat’s deeply grounded trust and belief in God. His generosity and philanthropic consciousness was a reflection of kindness and character.”

Drucker, whose influence on management extended far beyond the classroom to executive boardrooms around the world, had been attracting students to CGU since his arrival in 1971. While at the university, he developed one of the country’s first executive MBA programs for working professionals.

“We attended many classes together and all of Peter Drucker’s classes,” Henseler said. “Pat was an insatiable learner and unquenchable reader who enhanced group discussions as well as the practical applications of the materials being discussed.”

For decades, Cadigan used his CGU education to inform his business operations and investments.

“He had all 39 of Drucker’s books, which he referenced regularly for the rest of his life,” Maria Cadigan recalled. “When I look at copies of speeches he’d given to banks and other organizations, he always quoted Drucker. I’d never known my father to hold someone in such high regard. It was an honor for him to have Drucker on his dissertation committee.”

  • Visit our Cadigan gift page to learn more about Patrick Cadigan, his philanthropy, and CGU’s future.