Ralph Kaul dies at 88

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Ralph Kaul pictureRalph Kaul ’35, one of Reed’s great friends, died at home in Tampa, Florida, on March 14, following a long illness. The Kaul name lives on at Reed in the hearts of those who knew him and in the Kaul Auditorium, which was funded by gifts from Ralph and his wife, Virginia.

Kaul joined the Reed board of trustees in 1988 at age 74. The college found him indispensable: in addition to his knowledge of and love for Reed College, he brought his impressive experience in the construction industry to his role on the buildings and grounds committee. He was also active on the board in the committees that oversee investments and academic affairs.

“We all have four or five major opportunities and decisions that have deter-mined the course of our lives,” he wrote. “Reed College was the one where I learned the pleasure, confidence, and power of learning.”

In addition to supporting the construction of the Kaul Auditorium during the Campaign for Reed College, Kaul also gave generously to Reed in support of technology, faculty and student research, and professional development for faculty members.

“Ralph Kaul was a wonderful, imaginative, and enthusiastic Reed alum. He left Reed in 1933 determined to serve his community,” said former president Steven Koblik. “His loyalty and pride in Reed was unbounded. He took great pride in the contributions he could make to the life of the institution and was especially pleased to have our new auditorium carry his and his wife’s name. All of us who were his friends will miss him greatly.”

Kaul was born on January 17, 1914, in Storrs, Utah. After graduating from Reed in political science, he became one of the first fellows at the Littauer School of Public Administration (now the Kennedy School of Government) at Harvard University, where he earned a master’s degree in economics. In 1939 he received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship at Columbia University that allowed him to undertake further economic studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. From 1940 to 1953 he distinguished himself in public service, working in various consulting and administrative positions that included economic adviser and executive assistant to the United States–Mexico Oil Commission, director of housing and community facilities for the National Security Resources Board, and chairman of the Critical Areas Committee, which handled civilian priorities during the Korean War.

In 1953 Kaul decided to shift to business, and by 1956 he had become a builder. Among his largest joint ventures were aircraft warning control stations for the U.S. Air Force and the town of Page, Arizona, which he built for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a staging site for construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. In 1961, after deciding to invest and build only for his own companies, he founded the Kaul Company, based in Tampa, which grew to a nationwide land devel-opment and nonresidential building firm with extensive real estate holdings.

Kaul kept active in public life and community service as well, serving on the Arlington, Virginia, county board for two terms in the 1950s. He was a generous and frequent donor to many charitable organizations and founded the Kaul Foundation in 1988 to reward excellence in science, health, literature, fine arts, and education.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, two stepsons and a stepdaughter, a stepdaughter-in-law, three grandchildren, and nine step-grandchildren. End of Article



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