Pardee RAND Celebrates Susan Marquis

board of governors, bog, dinner, celebration, p202106_01

Members of the Board of Governors toast the dean at the dinner following her last meeting

Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

September 15, 2021

With music and dancing, fantastic food and drinks, and many toasts and tears, Pardee RAND feted Susan Marquis on August 31 in celebration of more than 12 years as dean and 9 years as RAND vice president of innovation. The outdoor party included dozens of students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the school and RAND.

A week earlier, more than 100 colleagues — some in Santa Monica, but many offsite — celebrated the dean via a Zoom call, with more than a dozen speeches and shared recollections, and much laughter.

Here we excerpt some of the comments that her colleagues shared, as well as a selection of the many statements Susan herself made — with her jackets — over the years.

  • On Growing (into) Pardee RAND

    When the Pardee RAND staff heard that the former Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations was going to be the next dean, we wondered if she'd be bored. We had a full-time staff of barely five people and a budget of not quite $3 million in a good year; how could this possibly be big enough for her? Well, it wasn’t.

    But that didn't stop her, because she had ideas. Lots and lots of them. And she knew how to win friends and influence people and turn her ideas into reality. Before long, on all the metrics that matter, we were seeing amazing growth across the board. Our staff size doubled and tripled and then grew some more. Our cohorts grew larger, and scholarship funding increased, as did our endowment.

    Well, you get the picture. Over her tenure, Susan made the job big enough for her, and in the process, she changed the school profoundly and for the better.

    Rachel Swanger

    Associate Dean, Pardee RAND

At her farewell party, with a gift coordinated by the Student Leadership Council, playing off her book I Am Not A Tractor.

With Jim Lovelace and Joe Greer in 2020

  • Michael D. Rich

    Susan by the Numbers

    It’s really hard to summarize the highlights of nearly 13 years at the helm, much less explain the significance of what Susan and her team have accomplished.

    During Susan’s tenure as dean, 277 students matriculated from 40 different countries; 210 students received their Ph.D.s—just about half of the total in the 51 years of Pardee RAND’s operations.

    She raised $71 million during her time, $25 million for the endowment. More than $5 million for endowed scholarships, $2.5 million for endowed fellowships, and more than $3 million of the endowment is for faculty support.

    And, at her final Board of Governors meeting, I had the privilege of announcing the establishment of a $1 million fund that was created with brand new gifts from Board of Governors chair Jim Lovelace and other governors to establish the Susan L Marquis Endowed Student Scholarship.

    Susan will be missed, but she's never going to be forgotten.

    Michael D. Rich

    RAND President and Chief Executive Officer

  • Susan Sohler

    On Action

    Working with Susan has been a rewarding and invigorating experience. One of the reasons is that she continually reminds us to address problems with action not just talk.

    Susan is unusual in that she understands that diving in and experimenting, trying some new approach, even without much evidence, hard evidence that it's going to work, sometimes is the best path forward. And this commitment to experimentation is why she's led RAND’s RIR program so successfully.

    This is a lesson that Susan has taught me well and it's a torch I'm going to carry for the rest of my RAND career.

    Susan Sohler Everingham

    Director, Innovation Architecture

With Alum Arthur Brooks in 2019

Pardee RAND 2018 Commencement Weekend - Friday night dialogue, demonstrations, and dinner, p201806_05b, graduation, commencement, panel, dinner, pardee rand

At Commencement in 2018

  • Tim McDonald

    On Pushing Students to Excel

    Susan knows that, for students to excel and to push boundaries, Pardee RAND needs a high degree of customization. I think that's part of the reason why there's a high completion rate in the program, I think the highest in the country.

    But she's also very audacious in her expectations, and she challenges us to be at the cutting edge. She wants students, through their dissertations, to push the boundaries of the field, and that's electrifying. It's an extraordinary thing to expect from students and to challenge them to meet.

    We always knew we had a champion in her.

    Tim McDonald

    Doctoral Student, Cohort ’16

  • On Making a Statement (with a Jacket)

    Susan, to me, is all about energy, even in what she wears. We share a love of color and the belief that a statement jacket is all you really need to create an outfit.

    She’s one of those people that really lights up a room, sometimes with her smile, but sometimes she's lighting a match with a new idea or a creative way to go about something. But no matter what, she moves us forward. I really admire the vision and commitment that she has to change things to for the better and the way she just totally leans in for action.

    Allison Elder

    Vice President, Human Resources

Dean Susan Marquis at Pardee RAND Graduate School

Susan's 2017 profile photo

p201606_08f, commencement, graduation, event, luncheon, terrace, jason wang, susan marquis

With Alum Jason Wang at Commencement 2016

  • Howard Shatz

    On Reimagining

    Susan not not only reimagined labor relations in her book, she reimagined RAND-initiated research, made it completely different from what it had been, and reimagined the graduate school.

    Howard Shatz

    Professor and Senior Economist

  • Stefanie Howard

    On Leadership

    I've always appreciated Susan's bold and strong sense of adventure. Who could ignore a boss who told us she was willing to do almost anything, jump into anything. And she meant it. She saw us as leaders, which made us all stronger.

    Stefanie Howard

    Assistant Dean, Admissions and Strategic Initiatives

Charles Wolf, Bob Shiller, and Susan Marquis

With Founding Dean Charles Wolf and Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Robert Shiller in 2015

With Alumni Mark Albrecht and David Maxwell Jolly at Commencement in 2014

  • Jon Wong

    On Expanding the Policy Analysis Playing Field

    Susan leaves us not only with a wider vision of what public policy is, with the redesign, but also who's part of it, who gets to participate. I think Susan takes a certain pride and gleefulness in picking out folks who others might think would be oddballs.

    A couple of examples: a teammate of Tom Brady at the University of Michigan who Susan brought into the program. A ballroom-dancing physicist. A sports marketer who wanted to do something more. And I can think of many more examples. But all these oddballs have gone on to widen that vision of public policy.

    And I think that's just such an important component of the school. Not only the redesign itself, the ideas, the curriculum, but the people who populate it. And that's something that I've always really appreciated.

    Jonathan Wong

    RAND Policy Research, Pardee RAND Professor, and Alum (cohort ’12)

  • Jeffrey Wasserman

    On Hiring a Dean

    The first time I met Susan was about 13 years ago, soon after she started. We went out to lunch and we talked about the school and her aspirations for the dean job and my experience as a student there.

    I left that lunch thinking, she is absolutely terrific! And I had competed for the dean job at that time. I thought to myself, I would have picked her if over me if I could.

    Jeffrey Wasserman

    Alum (cohort '85); former RAND Vice President and Director of RAND Health

p201311_05, bog, prgs, event, meeting, susan marquis, samantah ravich

With Alum Samantha Ravich in 2013