November 1, 2004
Onetime acting dean and longtime Business School administrator Samuel 'Pete' Pond dead at 90
Samuel "Pete" Pond, who served as acting dean and held many administrative posts at the Stanford Graduate School of Business during his roughly 30-year career there, died Oct. 14 at Stanford Hospital from the effects of a recent stroke. He was 90.
The family has not yet announced plans for a memorial.
Pond came to the Business School in 1961 in response to a midnight phone call from his longtime friend and then-dean Ernie Arbuckle. A 1939 MBA graduate of the Business School, Pond had earned a reputation as an accomplished, low-key and friendly executive in what was then called industrial relations. He became known at the school for his good humor and light touch, as well as for creating business systems that served the school well during the years in which it first developed an international reputation as an outstanding institution.
Pond was responsible for most of the non-academic functions of the school during Arbuckle's deanship and, in 1968, became acting dean when Arbuckle stepped down. Pond served as acting dean until Arjay Miller arrived in late 1969.
Described as a man with an "invisible management style," Pond kept the school moving forward for nearly 18 months during a very turbulent time on the Stanford campus.
"This was the height of the Vietnam protest movement and of student activism in general," he later recalled, "and the Business School was perceived as one of the targets of those protests. It was also a period when it was more important than ever for the school to maintain its sense of mission, stability and dedication to purpose."
He continued to serve the Business School as associate dean until his retirement in 1979. He went on to run Bricker's International Directory of University-Based Executive Development Programs, a respected reference publication.
"In retirement, he and his wife, Kip, maintained a close association with the school and were always available to assist in any way. Pete certainly had a long and rich life, and we will miss him greatly," said Dean Robert Joss.
Although his given name was Samuel, Pond was always called Pete. He once explained that Samuel was also his father's name but that his grandmother had decreed that one Samuel in the family was enough and began calling him Pete. The name stuck but didn't prevent Pond and his wife from naming their only son Samuel. Pond is survived by his wife, his son and two daughters, Kate and Elizabeth.
Pond's ancestors came to California in the early 1850s. His grandfather, Edward Bates Pond, became mayor of San Francisco and later ran for governor of California but was defeated by Leland Stanford.