W. Glenn Campbell, a Reagan administration official who built the Hoover Institution into one of the nation’s most influential conservative think tanks, died Saturday at the age of 77.
Mr. Campbell, who was also a regent and chairman of the University of California’s Board of Regents, ran the Hoover Institution for nearly three decades.
During that time, he turned it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise whose high-profile scholars ranging from Nobel Prize economist Milton Friedman to nuclear physicist Edward Teller provided advice and counsel to several Republican administrations.
He was a longtime confidant of President Reagan, who at one point had more than two dozen Hoover analysts in his administration, many of them personally recommended by Mr. Campbell.
Some of Mr. Reagan’s senior advisers, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and White House domestic-policy adviser Martin Anderson, are among Hoover’s most celebrated scholars who continue to advise the current Bush administration.
Through very aggressive fund raising and personal recruitment of top government officials and academics, the institution grew under Mr. Campbell’s leadership from a little-known think tank at the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif., to one of the foremost centers of conservative thought in the country. When he retired from his post in 1989, Hoover’s endowment originally $2 million had grown to $130 million.
Mr. Campbell’s wife of 55 years, economist Rita Ricardo-Campbell, said that he suffered a heart attack at his home in Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Described by former associates as a feisty, combative man with a sometimes fierce temper, Mr. Campbell’s 28 years of service on the University of California’s Board of Regents included highly publicized political battles over academic tenure, affirmative action and then-Gov. Ronald Reagan’s crackdown on student protests in the late 1960s.
“Glenn Campbell was a lifelong fighter for freedom.
He promoted the ideas of freedom as they applied in political life and in economic life,” Mr. Shultz said.
Mr. Anderson called him “the premier intellectual entrepreneur of the century” because of his success in bringing top academic names to Hoover. “He selected the scholars he brought Friedman, Ed Teller, George Shultz and the others and we ended up with four or five people with Nobel Prizes.”
Mr. Reagan appointed Mr. Campbell to several posts in his administration, including chairman of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board, a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and chairman of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission.
Born in Ontario, Canada, on April 29, 1924, Mr. Campbell graduated from the University of Western Ontario with honors in economics and political science. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1948.
He began his professional career teaching economics at Harvard at the age of 21, later joining the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a research economist.
He was research director of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington before being picked by former President Herbert Hoover in 1960 to run the Hoover Institution.