The Legacy of John M. Cazier

John M. Cazier

John M. Cazier, engineer and philanthropist, friend and valued stakeholder of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, died on August 24 after a brief illness. He was 89, and leaves a legacy at the Pardee RAND Graduate School for initiatives and research in environmental and energy sustainability.

He established the John and Carol Cazier Energy and Environmental Sustainability Initiative at Pardee RAND with a gift of $5 million. The initiative is designed to help generate new concepts, tools, and methods to share findings, ideas, and insights clearly and broadly. The aim is to improve public policy, foster better practices in the field, and apply these to the commercial sector to benefit people throughout the world. A key focus will be in the areas of quantitative policy analysis and robust planning under conditions of deep uncertainty concerning the future of energy and the environment.

“John Cazier, an innovator and business leader in automotive engineering, also was a great philanthropist,” said Susan Marquis, dean at Pardee RAND. “He will be long and fondly remembered and appreciated for his accomplishments in business and his forward thinking on green practices and sustainability.”

Cazier spent his early years enjoying the freedom of unsupervised rural life in the Sierra Nevada foothills, as his father raised cattle, mined for gold, and educated him in a two-room schoolhouse. He graduated from Santa Monica High School and served in the U.S. Navy before earning his B.S. cum laude in mechanical engineering at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland.

“My uncle was an outstanding analytical thinker, as well as a student of history,” said his nephew Edward Cazier. “Furthermore, he was a great humanist and strove to make the world a better place. He was also an outstanding business leader who had a clear vision about the strategic direction of his company and of his own strengths and weaknesses.”

An avid sailor who raced high-performance sailboats and belonged to the Balboa Yacht Club, John Cazier made his professional mark with Garrett Turbo. By the time of his retirement as president, he had helped to greatly expand and internationalize the firm—with plants in Japan, Brazil, Britain, and France—into an $850 million company supplying half the world’s turbo chargers.

John Cazier in recent months had shared his views on giving, saying, “I'm truly impressed with the intellectual capacities of Pardee RAND and RAND. After having success in the engineering and automotive industry, I want to ensure that the right bridges get built between the research powerhouses of RAND and Pardee RAND, the commercial world, and the best practitioners in the field. People around the planet must deal with so many challenges, today and in the days ahead, that we need to share information, get smarter, and do so with all of us in our different spots pulling together.”

Under the initiative—which also honors his wife, Carol Cazier, who predeceased her husband—the graduate school will bring important visiting fellows to campus and provide valuable research and dissemination tools to students and faculty members. The visiting fellows—some of the best minds and practitioners in their fields—will challenge, inspire, inform, and educate Ph.D. candidates, faculty, RAND researchers, and the RAND community—and it is hoped that being part of the RAND community will broaden the visitors’ horizons, too.

There will be support to allow faculty, with student assistance, to pursue new work and extend RAND and graduate school research, with a particular emphasis on disseminating this work and getting it into the hands of decisionmakers and practitioners. To achieve the most impact with the widest possible audiences, Cazier’s gift will underwrite materials that communicate in nontechnical, direct, visual, and simple ways about advances or key policies on the environment, sustainability, engineering, and technology transfer.

Further, the John M. Cazier Endowed Dissertation for Sustainability award will support Ph.D. candidates pursuing dissertations on topics that have potential policy impact in energy and environmental sustainability. These Pardee RAND students will be encouraged to think deeply about innovative and better approaches to developing energy resources; to address threats to the environment and standards of living, broadly defined; and to articulate how science, technology, and policy can address them.

A public memorial celebration was held on October 11 at the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Costa Mesa, California. A Pardee RAND tribute event is being planned for a later date.