David Packard

David Packard
United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
In office
January 24, 1969  December 13, 1971
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Paul Nitze
Succeeded by Kenneth Rush
Personal details
Born (1913-09-07)September 7, 1913
Pueblo, Colorado
Died March 26, 1996(1996-03-26) (aged 83)
Stanford, California
Spouse(s) Lucile Salter (d. 1987)
Children David, Nancy, Susan, and Julie
Education Stanford University
Known for Co-founder of:
Agilent Technologies
Awards Sylvanus Thayer Award (1982)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1988)
Public Welfare Medal (1989)

David Packard (September 7, 1912  March 26, 1996) was an electrical engineer and co-founder, with William Hewlett, of Hewlett-Packard (1939), serving as president (1947–64), CEO (1964–68), and Chairman of the Board (1964–68, 1972–93). He served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1971 during the Nixon administration. Packard served as President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) from 1976 to 1981. He was also chairman of the Board of Regents from 1973 to 1982. Packard was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and is noted for many technological innovations and philanthropic endeavors.


David Packard was born in Pueblo, Colorado, and attended Centennial High School, where early on he showed an interest in science, engineering, sports, and leadership.[1] His father was an attorney. He earned his B.A. from Stanford University in 1934, where he earned letters in football and basketball and attained membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society and was a Brother of the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Fraternity.[2] Stanford is where he met two people who were important to his life: Lucile Salter and Bill Hewlett.[3] Packard then briefly attended the University of Colorado before he left to work for the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York. In 1938, he returned to Stanford from New York, where he earned a master's degree in Electrical Engineering in 1938.[3] In the same year, he married Lucile Salter, with whom he had four children: David, Nancy, Susan, and Julie. Lucile Packard died in 1987.


In 1939, Packard and Hewlett established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard's garage with an initial capital investment of $538 (equivalent to US$9,168 in 2015).[1][3] Packard mentions in his book The HP Way that the name Hewlett-Packard was determined by the flip of a coin: HP, rather than PH.[3][4] Their first product was an audio frequency oscillator sold to Walt Disney Studios for use on the soundtrack of Fantasia.[3] The HP Way describes HP's management philosophy, which encourages creativity and shuns traditional business hierarchy and formality.[5] During World War II HP produced radio, sonar, radar, nautical, and aviation devices.[5]

The company, where Packard proved to be an expert administrator and Hewlett provided many technical innovations,[3] grew into the world's largest producer of electronic testing and measurement devices. It also became a major producer of calculators, computers, and laser and ink jet printers.

HP incorporated in 1947, with Packard becoming its first president, serving in that role until 1964; he was then elected Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, holding these positions through 1968.[6] He left HP in 1969 to serve in the Nixon administration until 1971, at which time he returned to HP and was re-elected Chairman of the Board, serving from 1972 to 1993. In 1991, Packard oversaw a major reorganization at HP.[5] He retired from HP in 1993. At the time of his death in 1996, Packard's stake in the company was worth more than $1 billion.

Defense Department

Upon entering office in 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Packard U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense under Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird.[3] Packard resigned in December 1971[7][8] and returned to Hewlett-Packard in 1972 as Chairman of the Board.

While serving in the Department of Defense (DoD), he brought concepts of resource management used in business to the military, as well as establishing the Defense Systems Management College.[9] In 1970, Packard issued a memorandum that contained a number of major reforms designed to address "the real mess we have on our hands."[10] A key reform was elimination of Robert MacNamara's Total Package Procurement except in rare situations.[10]

Near the end of his time at DoD, Packard wrote the "Packard Memo" or "Employment of Military Resources in the Event of Civil Disturbances".[11] Enacted in February 1972, the Act[12] describes exceptions to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which limited the powers of the federal government to use the U.S. military for law enforcement, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress noting that the Constitution provides an exception when needed "to prevent loss of life or wanton destruction of property and to restore governmental functioning and public order when sudden and unexpected civil disturbances, disasters, or calamities seriously endanger life and property and disrupt normal governmental functions to such an extent that duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situations" and "to protect Federal property and Federal governmental functions when the need for protection exists and duly constituted local authorities are unable or decline to provide adequate protection".[13] § 214.5 states that "employment of DoD military resources for assistance to civil authorities in controlling civil disturbances will normally be predicated upon the issuance of a Presidential Executive order or Presidential directive authorizing", with exceptions "limited to:

  1. Cases of sudden and unexpected emergencies as described in §215.4(c)(1)(i), which require that immediate military action be taken.
  2. Providing military resources to civil authorities as prescribed in §215.9 of this part."[14]

According to Lindorff, these exceptions essentially reinstate the possibility of martial law in the U.S., prohibited since 1878.[15]

In the 1970s and 1980s Packard was a prominent advisor to the White House on defense procurement and management. He served as Chairman of The Business Council in 1973 and 1974.[16] In 1985-86, he served as chairman of The Packard Commission.


At Packard's instruction, the domain name "HP.com" was registered on March 3, 1986, and as such was one of the earliest to be registered.[17]


From the early 1980s until his death in 1996, Packard dedicated much of his time and money to philanthropic projects.[18] Prompted by his daughters Nancy Packard Burnett and Julie Packard, in 1978 Dave and Lucile Packard created the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. The couple eventually donated $55 million to build the new aquarium, which opened in 1984 with Julie Packard as executive director.[1] In 1987, Packard gave $13 million to create the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute,[1] and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has since provided about 90% of the Institute's operating budget.

In 1964, the couple founded the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. In 1986, they donated $40 million toward building what became the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University; the new hospital opened in June 1991. Packard and Hewlett made a combined donation of $77 million to Stanford in 1994,[19] for which the university named the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building in his honor.[20] The building is located adjacent to the William Hewlett Teaching Center.

Packard was a member of the American Enterprise Institute's board of trustees. He died on March 26, 1996 at age 83 in Stanford, California, leaving approximately $4 billion (the bulk of his estate) to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation,[5] including large amounts of valuable real property in Los Altos Hills. All three Packard daughters sit on the Foundation's board of trustees. David Woodley Packard, his son, currently serves as president of the Packard Humanities Institute.[21]


Packard's old home and garage in Palo Alto, California were placed on the California registry of historic places as "The Birthplace of Silicon Valley".[3] He also had an oil tanker named for him. The David Packard, built in 1977, was operated for Chevron, had a capacity 406,592 long tons deadweight (DWT) and was registered under the Bahamian flag.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Official biography at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  2. 1 2 IEEE (1973). "IEEE-David Packard, 1912-1996". IEEE History Center. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "David Packard, 1912-1996". Archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  4. Packard, David (1995). HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company. Collins. ISBN 0-88730-817-1.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient David Packard". medaloffreedom.com.
  6. "David Packard (1912-1996), Co-founder". Former Executive Bios. Hewlett-Packard. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  7. "1971". The Public Papers of President Richard Nixon. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-09-21. Letter Accepting the Resignation of David Packard as Deputy Secretary of Defense. December 11, 1971
  8. "Nixon Letter Accepting the Resignation of David Packard as Deputy Secretary of Defense & Packard's rsignation letter". Published by John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters,The American Presidency Project [online]. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California (hosted), Gerhard Peters (database). December 11, 1971. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  9. 1 2 "1982 Sylvanus Thayer Award to David Packard". Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  10. 1 2 Brown, Shannon A. (2005). Providing the Means of War: Historical Perspectives on Defense Acquisition. US Army Center of Military History and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. pp. 145–146. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  11. Liberato, Major Rodney, USAF (September 2007). "A New Department of Defense Framework for Efficient Defense Support of Civil Authorities" (PDF). Master's thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California: 18. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
  12. Title 32: National Defense Part 214Employment of Military Resources in the Event of Civil Disturbances, February 18, 1972.
  13. 32 U.S.C. § 214.4 Legal consideration.
  14. 32 U.S.C. § 214.5 Policies
  15. Lindorff, David (April 1988). "Could It Happen Here?". Mother Jones (magazine).
  16. The Business Council, Official website, Background
  17. "hp.com Whois record". Whois.net.
  18. The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, David Packard
  19. "Packard and Hewlett gift to make possible new science/engineering quad". Stanford News Service. October 11, 1994. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  20. "Engineering memory of the month". Stanford Engineering. August 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  21. packhum.org, Packard Humanities Institute
  22. Reagan, Ronald (October 17, 1988). "Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  23. "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  24. The Heinz Awards, William R. Hewlett and David Packard profile


External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to: David Packard
Business positions
New title President of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
William Hewlett
Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard
Chairman of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
Lewis E. Platt
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Nitze
United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
Succeeded by
Kenneth Rush
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