A Hero’s Passing: Richard Goldman

Richard N. Goldman ’41 has died at his home in San Francisco. He was 90 years old.

Mr. Goldman was named CAA’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year. Profiling him for our magazine last spring (see, “The Heroes’ Hero”), writer Sabin Russell described the retired insurance executive and renowned philanthropist as having “an upright ‘Daddy Warbucks’ air about him—an elegant dresser with a broad smile, a bald pate, and a kind heart. Add to that a pair of lively blue Paul Newman eyes.”

Together with his wife and fellow Cal alum, Rhoda, who passed away in 1996, Goldman oversaw a charitable foundation that, since its inception in the 1950s, has given away hundreds of millions of dollars, including many sizable gifts to UC Berkeley. The Goldman School of Public Policy is named for the couple. But Richard Goldman will probably be best remembered for the Goldman Environmental Prizes, sometimes called the “Green Nobels,” which are annually awarded to grassroots environmental activists from around the world. The award, which now carries a $150,000 cash prize, has gone to recipients in more than 75 countries.

Mr. Goldman is survived by sons, John and Doug and a daughter, Susan Gelman. His oldest child, Richard, died of a brain tumor at age 42 — an event that Goldman once said haunted him every day and would “continue to do so through the remainder of my life.”

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau issued the following statement on the passing of his dear and trusted friend. Read more

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Did Professor served as advisor to several former Presidents of the United States? Did he helped the Chinese government developed a “capitalist monetary system” when they first tried to convert and eliminate their “food coupons award system to deserved family”? Did he give a talk on the economic system of the Chinese or some topic of that nature…at I-House on Piedmont Ave. when “Joe” was the Executive Director which I attended as an I-House Alumni Reunion where I last saw Mrs. Bacon whom admitted me to I-House as an undergraduate after I showed her my official/original Green Card from the then Immigration and Naturalization Dept. ?
I was touched by the story. If we had more people like Richard Goldman, the world would be a better place to live in. Like Mr Goldman, I lost my oldest son to a brain tumor at the age of 42. We should be assured that he will join his wife and oldest son in a better place..
The story was very inspirational. Richard was a good role model for all of us. He was a big loss for all of us. Condolences for the people he left behind.
The best way to appreciate his life is by telling our children about him.
Great article. Very inspiring!

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