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Stanford Report, November 28, 2001

Glenn Campbell, former Hoover director, dead at 77


W. Glenn Campbell, the outspoken director of the Hoover Institution who built it into an internationally known think tank, died Nov. 24 of a heart attack at his home in Los Altos Hills. He was 77.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Los Altos Chapel of Spangler Mortuaries at 399 San Antonio Road. Plans for a memorial service on campus are pending.

Hoover Director John Raisian said that his predecessor, who retired in 1989, "served this institution magnificently. He was an institution builder, an advocate of freedom and a contributor to our nation's well-being."

In 1960, Campbell, a free-market economist, was handpicked by former President Herbert Hoover to run his library. Under Campbell's 29-year leadership, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace grew into a powerful think tank. Its endowment grew from $2 million to more than $125 million and it more than tripled in size physically.

"He was the man who built the Hoover Institution," said Senior Fellow Melvyn Krauss. "And he was an early founder of think tanks in the United States. He was a terrific fundraiser and he brought outstanding people to Hoover."

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz said Campbell's guiding idea in both politics and economics was his "continual fight for freedom. That led him to all sorts of positions that were controversial at the time, but not anymore," Shultz said. "He was a dedicated anti-Communist and a severe critic of the Soviet Union. Now people say, 'You were right after all.'" He was also dedicated to market solutions, not government solutions, to economic problems, Shultz said.

Senior Fellow Bruce Bueno de Mesquita said Campbell successfully turned an obscure library into one of the world's leading think tanks. "We had possibly one of the largest sets of Nobel laureates in economics affiliated with Hoover," he said. Campbell chafed at the description of Hoover as a conservative think tank, Bueno de Mesquita said: "Glenn was much broader in his vision. He hired extraordinary people. Glenn did have a political side but also an academic side." The fellows included economist Milton Friedman; physicist Edward Teller, designer of the hydrogen bomb; Soviet expert Robert Conquest; and Shultz.

Krauss said Campbell successfully hired high-profile stars, such as Friedman, after they retired from other institutions. At first, "it was tough for us to get mainline people," he said. "Glenn was ingenious in his strategy of creating 'over-age' appointments." And by establishing joint appointments between Hoover and Stanford departments, a move that allowed scholars to earn a higher salary, Krauss said, the university became more competitive in attracting top people.

Campbell was a longtime supporter of former President Ronald Reagan, whom he met when the one-time actor ran for governor of California. In 1968, Reagan appointed Campbell to the Board of Regents of the University of California. He served as a regent for 28 years, often clashing with UC's administration. In 1969, for example, he sided with Reagan in his crackdown on student protests over the Vietnam War.

Krauss said that Campbell's close relationship with Reagan benefited Hoover. "When he became president, we had a bonanza," he said. Many of the fellows went on to serve in Washington, D.C., and helped create the ideological framework for the "Reagan revolution."

Referring to the Hoover Institution book, The United States in the 1980s, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said, "We have read this book and have watched all its programs become adopted by the Reagan administration."

Campbell's close relationship with the Republican Party, however, often caused him to have run-ins with Stanford. In 1987, the university thwarted Campbell's effort to bring the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Public Affairs Center to campus. Stanford's trustees extended to Reagan an invitation to build the library, but not the public affairs center, concerned that the latter would turn into a conservative think tank. Reagan initially accepted the offer but later established his library in Southern California.

A year later, the trustees, citing a mandatory retirement age policy, informed Campbell that he would have to retire in 1989, the year he turned 65. Campbell fought to stay on but, after securing a generous retirement package, stepped down and was appointed counselor to the director. In 1994, Campbell was named director emeritus.

Campbell was born on a farm in Lobo Township in Ontario, Canada. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1944 with honors in economics and political science. In 1948, he graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in economics.

Campbell is survived by his wife of 55 years, Rita Ricardo-Campbell, a Hoover senior fellow emerita; sisters Marjorie Wyatt and Evelyn McClary of Ontario, Canada; daughters Nancy Yaeger of Los Angeles, Diane Campbell of Irvine and Barbara Gray of Walnut Creek; and four grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MS Awareness Foundation, (888) 336-6723, or to charities of the donor's choice.