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Pardee estate bequest brings total University of Denver giving to $24.5 million

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For 17 years, the Pardee Institute for International Futures has used data and built tools to analyze our complex world and enhance human well-being.

Headshot of Frederick Pardee.

By Gerald Schorin

Frederick Pardee’s visionary generosity—during his lifetime and, recently, through an estate gift that brought his total giving to just under $25 million—led to the creation of the Pardee Institute for International Futures in DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studiesproviding a permanent home for the International Futures computer simulation model begun by Barry Hughes over 40 years ago.

Growing up in the turbulent World War II era, Pardee received several scholarships to attend college, fueling his dual mission in life: to act philanthropically and to improve the world.

After college, Pardee served in the U.S. Air Force and then worked for many years as an economic analyst. In addition to his work in quantitative modeling and economic analysis, Pardee got involved in real estate investing. He eventually founded a privately held investment and development firm, whose success allowed him to pursue his interest in advancing the human condition through systems and data and become an active philanthropist.

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When he met DU professor Barry Hughes, they connected on these shared interests. Hughes had for several years been developing IFs, which combines interconnected models across multiple domains, leveraging historical data to identify and measure trends and forecast

hundreds of variables up to the year 2100 for 188 countries. The model allows researchers and policy makers to simulate how changes in one system led to changes across all others and explore how countries and regions have developed in the past, how they might grow and change in the future, and even hypothesize possible futures based on policy choices.

In 2007, Pardee provided the funding for the Korbel School to establish what was then called the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures, with Hughes serving as founding director. The objective of the Center’s—now Institute’s—work was hosting and further developing Hughes’ IFs model, by then the world's leading forecasting system. Two years later, Pardee helped fund the building of an annex to Ben Cherrington Hall to house additional workspaces, video-conferencing resources and presentation capabilities.

Pardee’s generous contributions over the years led the University of Denver to award him with an honorary PhD in 2013. Pardee passed away in 2022, but his impact on the University and on improving life for millions around the world lives on and will be felt for generations.  

Says Hughes, “Over 20 years, Fred Pardee and I developed a relationship combining friendship and working partnership. His strong and frequently communicated interest was always in ‘improving the human condition,’ an interest that financially and intellectually supported the creation and work of what has now become the Frederick S. Pardee Institute for International Futures. I very much miss the opportunities of further interacting with Fred."