Claremont Graduate University receives its largest philanthropic commitment ever

A man with a book in his hand poses towards the camera.
CGU recieved the largest donation in its nearly 100 year history, $42 million, from alumnus Patrick Cadigan’s will. (Courtesy: Claremont Graduate University)

Claremont Graduate University was bequeathed a $42 million gift from alumnus Patrick F. Cadigan CG ’78, CG ’80, in order to construct a new building for the university’s School of Arts and Humanities. The donation, announced Feb. 15, is the largest in the college’s nearly 100 years of operation.

Cadigan, who died in April 2020, was a tech CEO and prolific real estate investor in Orange County with a portfolio of nearly $1 billion. CGU met with Cadigan in 2019 to discuss the project, but his ailing health forced them to cut the meeting short. 

But last spring, Cadigan’s attorney called the university to notify them the alumnus had specifically earmarked money and a vision for the building in his will.

Cadigan earned both his postgraduate degrees from CGU, completing his master’s in 1978 and a PhD in executive management in 1980. He studied under CGU professor Peter F. Drucker, often considered the founder of modern management, who died in 2005.

The new building will be located on a two acre lot north of CGU’s Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, on the corner of N. Dartmouth Ave and Drucker Way. 

Cadigan’s attorney and daughter toured the site in October 2021 and agreed to meet the $42 million cost, payable in $7 million increments over the next six years.

Named in his honor, the Cadigan Building will be “a human-centered architectural design that invites collaboration and creativity. It will serve as a nexus for innovation, ingenuity, and transdisciplinary research,” CGU President Len Jessup said in an CGU news release.

“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,” Jessup added.

The building, which will likely be two or three stories and about 40,000 square-feet, could open as early as the fall 2024 semester, according to the Claremont Courier.

“Cadigan believed, as did Drucker, in the social responsibility of companies—that every company’s goal isn’t simply profits and shareholder dividends, but that each company has an obligation to support a functioning society with its success,” the press release said.

In 2020, CGU received $14 million from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to establish the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies at the former site of the Huntley Bookstore.

The research center will serve vulnerable populations in the Inland Empire and Indian Country. The design was recently completed by Ontario-based architect Brian R. Bloom, according to the Claremont Courier.

“Education is the foundation to whatever you want to be in this world,” Cadigan’s daughter Maria Cadigan said in the release. “I feel so blessed that my father could give such a significant gift to a place like CGU so that many great minds will be able to collaborate and take what they learn into their professions.”

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