RAND Tribute to U.S. Air Force Honors Natalie Crawford, Don and Susan Rice

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Michael Rich, Susan and Don Rice, and Natalie Crawford at One Night with RAND

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

November 16, 2017

Pardee RAND faculty member Natalie W. Crawford and longtime Pardee RAND supporters Donald B. and Susan F. Rice were celebrated at One Night with RAND, a fundraising event on November 9 that brought together leaders in business, government, academia, and philanthropy.

In honoring these seminal leaders, the event also marked the RAND Corporation’s seven-decade relationship with the U.S. Air Force and the accomplishments enabled by this partnership. Held in Santa Monica and emceed by Pardee RAND alum Ted Harshberger (cohort '86), RAND Vice President and Director of RAND Project AIR FORCE, the event featured dinner and a panel discussion on the role of trust in leadership. Panelists included retired Air Force General Larry D. Welch, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, and RAND President and CEO Michael D. Rich, moderated by journalist Soledad O'Brien, a RAND Trustee and member of the Pardee RAND Board of Governors.

About the Honorees

An internationally recognized expert on air and space power, Natalie Crawford has worked tirelessly during her more than 50 years at RAND to help improve the nation’s capability to use air power. Since joining RAND as an analyst in 1964, she has served in many leadership roles, including as vice president and director of RAND Project AIR FORCE. Crawford currently holds the Distinguished Chair in Air and Space Policy at RAND. In addition, she is president of the RAND Alumni Association and serves as a faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She has been a dedicated mentor and supporter to dozens of Pardee RAND students over the years.

Donald Rice was a steward of high-quality analysis that benefited the nation and the world, first as president of RAND and then as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Air Force. Under his leadership, RAND’s position as the United States’ leading national security research institution was reinforced and its domestic research portfolio was expanded. While at RAND, his advice was sought by three U.S. presidents—Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter—and a succession of secretaries of defense. As Secretary of the Air Force, appointed by President H.W. Bush in 1989, he reorganized the Air Force and reduced its budget while also fighting the first Gulf War. Since leaving the Air Force, he has led corporations in the technology and biotechnology sectors and served on numerous corporate boards. He is a member of the RAND Board of Trustees and the Pardee RAND Graduate School Board of Governors, which he chaired for 10 years.

Susan Rice played a vital role in guiding and shaping RAND’s then-nascent development efforts as part of a career in not-for-profit fundraising management. The founder of SFR Consulting, she worked with RAND for 11 years, advising on health research fundraising plans and providing much-needed support for other critical development initiatives. A senior consulting associate with Brakeley Briscoe, Inc., she previously served as president and CEO of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and as vice president of Business Executives for National Security. Susan and Don are longtime philanthropic supporters and have established three endowed scholarships at Pardee RAND.

Through their leadership and philanthropy, these three individuals have not only advanced RAND’s mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis, but also supported Pardee RAND’s efforts to recruit and train the best and brightest of the next generation of policy makers.