Papers of SAIC Founder J.R. Beyster Donated to UC San Diego Library

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Posted On: December 21, 2015

Papers of the late J. Robert “Bob” Beyster, founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and a business innovator who developed a successful blueprint for entrepreneurial, employee-empowered companies, are being donated to the UC San Diego Library by the Beyster family.

Beyster’s papers, which reflect his passion for entrepreneurship and employee-owner enabled entrepreneurial practices, include correspondence, SAIC business records, committee meeting minutes and materials related to employee ownership, as well as records on a broad range of government-funded research and development, including Strategic Air Command during the Cold War, safety of the international space station, critical hull design for a number of U.S. entries in the America’s Cup race, clean-up of Three Mile Island, commercialization of the Internet, and many other transformational programs. The collection will also contain his more than 60 technical publications and a complete record of the numerous awards and recognitions he received for his public service, global leadership in science and technology, and entrepreneurship.

After the materials are processed, the Beyster Papers will be housed in the UC San Diego Library’s Mandeville Special Collections, where they will be available for use by scholars, researchers and educators. The Beyster family has also provided funding to facilitate the processing of the archival materials to make them available for research and discovery online via the Web. The collection is expected to be made available to the public in 2017.

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Betty Beyster, signing the deed of gift for her husband’s papers, with son, James, and daughter, Mary Ann.

“December 22, 2015, marks the one-year anniversary of Bob Beyster’s passing, at the age of 90,” said University Librarian Brian E. C. Schottlaender. “It is an honor for the Library—and it is especially meaningful at this time—to preserve this rich archive of materials that reflect Dr. Beyster’s core values of employee ownership, entrepreneurship, technical excellence, and customer service. Bob and Betty Beyster have provided enormous support, energy, and guidance to the university since 1977, when they both became Chancellor’s Associates. We thank the Beyster family for their continuing commitment to advancing education and knowledge, as well as their generous donations, both of the materials and the funding to process and preserve them. We are confident that this archive will help to increase awareness and knowledge of the benefits of entrepreneurship and employee-owned enterprises.”

A brilliant scientist who proved to be an equally astute businessman, Bob Beyster worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and General Atomics before founding SAIC in 1969 as a San Diego-based, employee-owned company. While this form of corporate governance was viewed as radical at the time, it proved to be a winning formula for SAIC, which grew to become a multibillion-dollar-a-year research and engineering contractor for government and private-sector companies. When Beyster retired as chairman of SAIC in 2004, the company had annual revenues of $6.7 billion and more than 43,000 employees.

“We are very pleased to be donating my father’s papers to the UC San Diego Library, as we approach the first anniversary of his passing,” said Mary Ann Beyster, Bob Beyster’s daughter and a former trustee of the UC San Diego Foundation Board. “We are very grateful to the Library for its commitment to preserve and maintain these materials, and are delighted to provide support for the excellent work being done in Special Collections to document the history of science and innovation in our region. With their help, we will carry on my father’s values by educating and inspiring students, scholars, business owners and others, to fuel new start-ups and creative, employee-empowered enterprises.”

In 1986, Beyster established the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), a nonprofit organization aimed to advance the understanding and support of policies and practices for broad-based employee ownership. After his retirement in 2004, the FED established The Beyster Institute, which became part of UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management. At Rady, the institute provides education, training and consulting opportunities to MBA students as well as companies interested in employee ownership business strategies. The Beyster Institute’s programs have led to the development of numerous successful enterprises based on employee ownership and an entrepreneurial ethos.

Betty and J. Robert "Bob" Beyster

Betty and J. Robert “Bob” Beyster

A former chairman of the UC San Diego Foundation Board, Bob, along with his wife, Betty, made numerous contributions of his time, energy, and resources to strengthen UC San Diego programs. An endowed chair is named for Bob in the Jacobs School of Engineering and they contributed to two other endowed chairs in Engineering, as well as making significant contributions to the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, the Rady School, and supporting many other areas of the campus. Betty was also a board member of the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and served on the Medical Center Board of Advisors. In 2012, the Beysters were recipients of the Chancellor’s Medal, one of the highest awards bestowed by UC San Diego to honor exceptional service in support of the university’s mission.

Beyster, who received his B.S. degree in engineering and physics, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Michigan, wrote or co-authored roughly 60 publications, including the books: The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company; The SAIC Solution: Built by Employee Owners (the updated second edition); and Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions: The Monetization of the Internet.

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