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Rader Family Chair Steeped in Trojan History

Saturday, Nov 12, 2011

by Maria Iacobo
photos by Mikel Healey

Stephen P. Rader ’81 figures the idea of funding a chair for USC Law goes back as far as 60 years – to the year his parents met as undergraduates at UCLA.  Rader spoke extemporaneously and lovingly about his late father, Stanley Rader ’63, when he took the podium at Professor Lee Epstein’s chair installation ceremony.

“Even though I was lucky enough to be able to endow this chair, it really goes back to my family and especially my father,” said Rader.

Steve Rader '81 receives his chair from Dean
Robert K. Rasmussen

Proudly recalling his father’s academic and professional achievements and his love of USC Law, Rader said his father was “a staunch believer in our judicial system as a guardian of a just society” and encouraged him and his sister Janis (USC Law Class of 1977) to pursue clerkships after graduation.  Father and son also share the distinction of graduating first in their law school classes; the son of Stanley and Steve’s longtime close friend William Jack Kessler ’77, William Kessler ’11, recently earned the same honor, becoming what Rader looks upon as “the third generation of Raders winning the law alumni award for first in their class.”

Introducing Stephen Rader, Dean Rasmussen noted that Rader “epitomizes the type of person we take pride in producing at USC.”

Rader is an accomplished corporate securities attorney and certified public accountant, and he served as an investment banking managing director before co-founding first Rader Reinfrank & Co, a private equity fund based in Los Angeles, and then Clarity Partners, a private equity fund in Beverly Hillls.  Rader has long served on the law school’s board of councilors and is currently the chair.

“In addition to all of these professional accomplishments, what impresses me is how much Steve gives back to the law school,” said Rasmussen.  “It’s more than the chair; Steve shares his insights and knowledge with the students."

Last spring, Rader participated in an innovative new course called “Deals,” in which he shared with law and MBA students his experience as the lead attorney for investor Jerry Perenchio’s acquisition of Univision in 1991.

Dean Rasmussen, Prof. Lee Epstein and Steve Rader

“It was learning at the highest level,” said Rasmussen.  “Students saw how the theory they learned in the class played out in the real world.”

The extended Rader family has strong ties to USC.  Stephen Rader’s wife, Anne, and her four siblings also earned USC degrees; and one of their daughters recently received her bachelor’s degree from USC. All together, the family boasts of sixteen Trojans.

Reflecting on the chair his family has created, Rader noted that his father had served as an adjunct professor of law.

“My dad loved the law and he was particularly interested in judicial behavior,” said Rader.  “Professor Epstein’s seminal work in judicial behavior and her cutting edge research blending law and political science and politics is the type of scholarship my father would heartily endorse.  Dad’s most enduring interest in the law centered on the U.S. Supreme Court, Constitutional law, legal institutions and judicial behavior.  Professor Epstein’s ongoing scholarship in these important areas will be a source of continuing appreciation by the Rader family.”

Rader said that his family talked about endowing a family chair before his father passed away several years ago.

“A chair made the most sense because it’s really about the educators and what they instill in the students,” said Rader.

With Epstein’s devotion to teaching and the accolades she has received from her students – undergraduate, law and doctoral candidates – the Rader Family Chair in Law could not have found a better inaugural holder. 

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