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David Packard
David Packard.jpg
13th 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 (1912-09-07)September 7, 1912
Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
Died March 26, 1996(1996-03-26) (aged 83)
Stanford, California, U.S.
Spouse Lucile Salter (d. 1987)
Children 4 including David, Susan, and Julie
Education Stanford University (BA, MA)
Known for Co-founder of Hewlett-Packard.
Member of Trilateral Commission.
Awards Sylvanus Thayer Award (1982)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1988)
Public Welfare Medal (1989)

David Packard ( PAK-ərd; September 7, 1912 – March 26, 1996) was an American electrical engineer and co-founder, with Bill Hewlett, of Hewlett-Packard (1939), serving as president (1947–64), CEO (1964–68), and Chairman of the Board (1964–68, 1972–93) of HP. 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 and chairman of its Board of Regents from 1973 to 1982. He was a member of the Trilateral Commission. Packard was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and is noted for many technological innovations and philanthropic endeavors.

Personal life

Packard was born in Pueblo, Colorado, the son of Ella (Graber) and Sperry Sidney Packard, an attorney. He attended Centennial High School, where early on he showed an interest in science, engineering, sports, and leadership. Packard 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. Stanford is where he met two people who were important to his life, Lucile Salter and Bill Hewlett. Packard briefly attended the University of Colorado at Boulder before taking a position with the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York. In 1938, he returned to Stanford, where he earned a master's degree in electrical engineering later that year. In the same year, he married Lucile Salter, with whom he had four children: David, Nancy, Susan, and Julie. Lucile Packard died in 1987 (age 72).


In 1939, Packard and Hewlett established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard's garage with an initial capital investment of $538 (equivalent to US$11,319 in 2022). 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. Their first product was an audio frequency oscillator sold to Walt Disney Studios for use on the soundtrack of Fantasia.

The company 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 those positions through 1968. Packard 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. 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.

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

Department of Defense

Upon entering office in 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Packard U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense under Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. Packard resigned in December 1971 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. In 1970, Packard issued a memorandum that contained a number of major reforms designed to address "the real mess we have on our hands." A key reform was elimination of Robert MacNamara's Total Package Procurement except in rare situations.

Near the end of his time at DoD, Packard wrote the "Packard Memo" or "Employment of Military Resources in the Event of Civil Disturbances". Enacted in February 1972, the act 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". § 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."

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

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. From 1985–86, he served as chairman of The Packard Commission.


From the early 1980s until his death in 1996, Packard dedicated much of his time and money to philanthropic projects. In 1964, Packard and his wife had established 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. Prompted by his daughters Nancy and Julie, in 1978 David and Lucile had 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 its executive director. In 1987, Packard gave $13 million to create the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Packard and Hewlett made a combined donation of $77 million to Stanford in 1994, for which the university named the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building in his honor.

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, 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, serves as president of the Packard Humanities Institute.


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". 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

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: David Packard para niños

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