Remembering Richard J. Riordan

Remembering Richard Riordan


Former Los Angeles mayor and founder of the Riordan Programs passes with an extraordinary legacy and commemorative fund

April 20, 2023

Dear Anderson Community:


I’m very sad to report the news that former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan passed away on April 19. While the rest of the world knew him as a dedicated public servant, an influential businessman and passionate philanthropist, we at Anderson perhaps know him best as the founder of The Riordan Programs, a hallmark of our community service efforts. Due to the generosity of Mayor Riordan, The Riordan Programs has had a profound impact on the lives of so many young students over the years, who in turn have gone on to lead impactful lives of their own.

The Riordan Programs was founded in 1987 by Mayor Riordan and (now) Distinguished Professor Emeritus William Ouchi. The program Mayor Riordan and Professor Ouchi created endures as an outreach program for traditionally underrepresented students in the Los Angeles area to receive the training needed for admission to college and professional success. The collective programs continue to make an immeasurable impact on the lives of young people in Southern California. To date, more than 4,000 students at all levels have participated in The Riordan Programs. The Riordan Scholars Program boasts a 100% university acceptance rate.

The commitment of Richard Riordan and his wife, Elizabeth, to The Riordan Programs has never waned or wavered. Most recently, the Riordan Foundation continued its support with a $3 million gift to the Riordan Programs. The gift is a tangible reminder of the values espoused by the Riordans, who established their charitable organization in 1981 to support youth literacy.

Over the coming days, much will be written about Mayor Riordan’s legacy. At UCLA 
Anderson, we will remember him best for his unbridled dedication to The Riordan Programs and its participants. We are grateful to him not only for his vision and financial support, but also for the many hours he spent on campus, visiting and working with the students taking part in the program that bears his name.

Mayor Riordan is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Riordan; three children, Mary Elizabeth Riordan, Kathleen Ann Riordan and Patricia Riordan Torrey; three grandchildren, Luca, Jessica and Elizabeth; and a sister, Mary Elizabeth Riordan Hearty. Please join me in sending our most sincere condolences to the mayor’s family and friends during this most difficult time.


Antonio Bernardo Dean and John E. Anderson Chair in Management

Please consider giving to the fund