May 3, 2021

Dear Pitzer Community,

It is with sadness that I learned that our trustee emeritus Eli Broad, one of Pitzer College’s earliest and most generous supporters, passed away on April 30.

Eli was a prominent and highly successful businessperson and philanthropist, perhaps best known as a benefactor of public education and fine arts in Los Angeles. The LA Times recently chronicled his life, career, civic involvement, and extensive philanthropic activities.

Eli’s impact on Pitzer was significant, serving on the Pitzer Board of Trustees from 1970-1982, including six years as the chair. He and his wife, Edythe, remained loyal donors long after his time on the Board. Eli and Edythe’s generosity made possible two architecturally significant buildings on our campus (Broad Hall and Broad Center). For more than 25 years, Pitzer students have been the beneficiary of two endowed scholarships funded by the Broads, and the family remains the single largest contributor to the Vicke Selk Endowment for Global Comparative Studies in Art, Music, and the Humanities at Pitzer, a special program fund honoring the College’s former and longest-serving Treasurer.

The Broad family, and later the Broad Foundation, left a lasting imprint on the College. Pitzer also positively affected Eli and his subsequent endeavors. In a meeting with him soon after I became Pitzer’s sixth president, Eli showed Suzanne and me a picture of him and his fellow trustees that he kept prominently displayed on the bookshelf behind his desk. He candidly shared that Pitzer’s board was the first major non-profit body that he served on and acknowledged that his ensuing involvement in the education and non-profit world were influenced by his time as a Pitzer College trustee.

Earlier today, I read a heartfelt message from Pitzer alumna Kim Schoenstadt ’95, who credits Eli with helping launch her art career by creating a permanent space for art on campus in Broad Center—the Nichols Gallery. As Kim wrote, “I owe my art career to him. Thank you, Eli Broad, for setting me on my path by making an art space in a small college that focuses on social justice. We will continue to build on what you started.”

Please join me in remembering Eli and the legacy he and Edythe created at Pitzer, and offering condolences to Edythe and the Broad family for their loss.


Melvin L. Oliver