Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Memorial to Peter F. Drucker

I owe a lot to Professor Drucker. In my first job out of college, my employer gave me a copy of his Management: Tasks, Responsilities, Practices. The job was a three-year tour doing community development work in Bogra, Bangladesh for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (, and I had lots of time to read it. I noticed that the Preface was datelined Claremont, California, Spring 1973.

I came back to the US in the summer of 1983. In October, I did a publicity tour in Southern California and stopped in Claremont to pick up an MBA brochure. I was accepted into the MBA program with a terrific financial aid package and began my studies in fall 1984. I wound up taking only two short courses with Peter.

His lectures ran for three hours straight without a break. In those three hours, we might get four or five key thoughts on managing a conglomerate, collecting Japanese art, or directing a symphony that were the most brilliant we had ever heard. In between, we were invited to "Please accept the fact that you know nothing about" economics, world history, or any other topic of which he was an expert and we were not.

Professor Drucker in Albrecht Auditorium at CGU
(Photo source:

Although Professor Drucker is what brought me to Claremont in the first place, it was the other excellent faculty he attracted that kept me there until I completed my doctorate in 1993. His influence on management education has been incredible.

Claremont Graduate University was a pioneer in executive MBA programs and has always been a leader in the combination of theory and practice that I have made central to my teaching here at the University of Redlands.

The Claremont Graduate University is having a memorial service on Saturday, December 10 at at 3 p.m. at Little Bridges Auditorium (150 East 4th Street in Claremont). An informal reception will follow at 4 p.m. at which time attendees may capture their memories of Peter Drucker on video as part of the legacy project for the Drucker Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Research Library and Archive).

I won't be able to attend because I'll be presiding at a board meeting for the Western Academy of Management, but somehow I don't think Professor Drucker would mind. I think he would rather have us out serving our communities than necessarily sitting in an auditorium remembering him. I invite you to post your memories here and share them with the Claremont Graduate University community.

Jim Spee
Associate Professor
University of Redlands School of Business
Redlands California, USA
November 23, 2004