David Packard (/ˈpækərd/ 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.[1] 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.

David Packard
13th United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
In office
January 24, 1969 – December 13, 1971
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byPaul Nitze
Succeeded byKenneth Rush
Personal details
Born(1912-09-07)September 7, 1912
Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
DiedMarch 26, 1996(1996-03-26) (aged 83)
Stanford, California, U.S.
SpouseLucile Salter (d. 1987)
Children4; including David Woodley, Susan and Julie
EducationStanford University
University of Colorado at Boulder
Known forCo-founder of Hewlett-Packard.
Member of Trilateral Commission.
AwardsSylvanus Thayer Award (1982)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1988)
Public Welfare Medal (1989)

Personal life


Packard was born in Pueblo, Colorado, the son of Ella (Graber) and Sperry Sidney Packard, an attorney.[2][3] He attended Centennial High School, where early on he showed an interest in science, engineering, sports, and leadership.[4] 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.[5] Stanford is where he met two people who were important to his life, Lucile Salter and Bill Hewlett.[6] 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.[6] 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).[7]



In 1939, Packard and Hewlett established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard's garage with an initial capital investment of $538 (equivalent to US$11,785 in 2023).[4][6] 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.[6][8] Their first product was an audio frequency oscillator, 8 of which were sold to Walt Disney Studios for testing sound equipment used to produce Fantasia.[6]

The company grew into the world's largest producer of electronic testing and measurement devices.[9] It also became a major producer of calculators, computers, and laser and ink jet printers.[6][10]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

Packard was criticized for expanding into South Africa, where HP equipment was used to implement apartheid. In 1980, he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for HP's headquarters in Johannesburg.[14] When Nebraska became the first US state government to divest from South Africa, Packard remarked "I'd rather lose business in Nebraska than with South Africa."[15]

At Packard's instruction,[16] the domain name "HP.com" was registered on March 3, 1986, and as such was one of the earliest to be registered.[17][18]

Department of Defense


Upon entering office in 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Packard United States Deputy Secretary of Defense under Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird.[6] Packard resigned in December 1971[19][20] and returned to Hewlett-Packard in 1972 as chairman of the board.[12]

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.[21] In 1970, Packard issued a memorandum that contained a number of major reforms designed to address "the real mess we have on our hands."[22] A key reform was elimination of Robert MacNamara's Total Package Procurement except in rare situations.[22]

Near the end of his time at DoD, Packard wrote the "Packard Memo" or "Employment of Military Resources in the Event of Civil Disturbances".[23] Enacted in February 1972, the act[24] 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".[25] § 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."[26]

According to Lindorff, these exceptions reinstate the possibility of martial law in the U.S., prohibited since 1878.[27]

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.[28] From 1985 to 1986, he served as chairman of The Packard Commission.[citation needed]



From the early 1980s until his death in 1996, Packard dedicated much of his time and money to philanthropic projects.[29] 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.[4] In 1987, Packard gave $13 million to create the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.[4] Packard and Hewlett made a combined donation of $77 million to Stanford in 1994,[30] for which the university named the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building in his honor.[31]

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.[32]



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".[6] He also had an oil tanker named for him.[41] 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.[citation needed] In 2021, MBARI built a new research vessel named R/V David Packard in honor of him as their founder.[42]

See also



  1. ^ "Uniformed Services University". www.usuhs.edu. Archived from the original on March 18, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "Packard Foundation and Caring for Colorado Foundation announce the Sperry S. And Ella Graber Packard Fund for Pueblo". April 10, 2019.
  3. ^ "The family tree of David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard (HP)". Packed with Packards!. June 8, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Official biography at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Archived from the original on June 8, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  5. ^ a b IEEE (1973). "IEEE-David Packard, 1912-1996". IEEE History Center. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "David Packard, 1912-1996". Archived from the original on February 7, 2007. Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  7. ^ "Lucile S. Packard, 72, Silicon Valley Philanthropist, Dies". Los Angeles Times. June 1, 1987. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Packard, David (1995). HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company. Collins. ISBN 0-88730-817-1.
  9. ^ Liker, Director of the Value Chain Analysis Program and the Japan Management Program Jeffrey K.; Liker, Jeffrey K.; Fruin, W. Mark; Adler, Paul S. (1999). Remade in America: Transplanting and Transforming Japanese Management Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195118155.
  10. ^ Vance, Ashlee; Wortham, Jenna (April 28, 2010). "Hewlett-Packard Agrees to Buy Palm". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "David Packard (1912-1996), Co-founder". Former Executive Bios. Hewlett-Packard. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  12. ^ a b Fisher, Lawrence M. (March 27, 1996). "David Packard, 83, Pioneer Of Silicon Valley, Is Dead". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "The Top 5 Co-Founding Partnerships and Their Stories". CEO Today. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  14. ^ American Friends Service Committee (1982). Automating Apartheid: U.S. Computer Exports to South Africa and the Arms Embargo. NARMIC/American Friends Service Committee. p. 75. ISBN 9780910082006.
  15. ^ Knight, Richard (1990). "Sanctions, Disinvestment, and U.S. Corporations in South Africa". Sanctioning Apartheid. Africa World Press.
  16. ^ "David Packard | The Philanthropy Hall of Fame | The Philanthropy Roundtable". Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  17. ^ "hp.com Whois record". Whois.com.
  18. ^ "The Internet's 100 Oldest Dot-Com Domains". PCWorld. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  19. ^ "1971". The Public Papers of President Richard Nixon. Archived from the original on July 22, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008. Letter Accepting the Resignation of David Packard as Deputy Secretary of Defense. December 11, 1971
  20. ^ "Nixon Letter Accepting the Resignation of David Packard as Deputy Secretary of Defense & Packard's resignation letter". The American Presidency Project. Published by John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters [online]. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California (hosted), Gerhard Peters (database). December 11, 1971. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "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 October 10, 2008.
  22. ^ a b 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. ISBN 9780160876219. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  23. ^ Liberato, Major Rodney, USAF (September 2007). "A New Department of Defense Framework for Efficient Defense Support of Civil Authorities". Master's thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California: 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2008. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ Title 32: National Defense — Part 214–Employment of Military Resources in the Event of Civil Disturbances Archived May 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, February 18, 1972.
  25. ^ 32 U.S.C. § 214.4 Legal consideration Archived May 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ 32 U.S.C. § 214.5 Policies Archived May 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Lindorff, David (April 1988). "Could It Happen Here?". Mother Jones.
  28. ^ The Business Council, Official website, Background Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, David Packard
  30. ^ "Packard and Hewlett gift to make possible new science/engineering quad". Stanford News Service. October 11, 1994. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  31. ^ "Engineering memory of the month". Stanford Engineering. August 2009. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  32. ^ packhum.org, Packard Humanities Institute
  33. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  34. ^ "Hesburgh Gets Award At Dinner". The New York Times. December 10, 1975. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  35. ^ Lee, John A. N.; Lee, J. A. N. (1995). International Biographical Dictionary of Computer Pioneers. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781884964473.
  36. ^ Reagan, Ronald (October 17, 1988). "Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  37. ^ "David Packard". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  38. ^ "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  39. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  40. ^ The Heinz Awards, William R. Hewlett and David Packard profile
  41. ^ Marinucci, Carla; Writer, Chronicle Political (May 5, 2001). "Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide / Condoleezza Rice drew too much attention". SFGate. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  42. ^ Staff, Marine Log (April 21, 2021). "MBARI to build new flagship research vessel". Marine Log. Retrieved February 23, 2023.






Business positions
New title President of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard
Chairman of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
Succeeded by