Alan Kreditor, who helped lay the foundations for the Price School of Public Policy and served in various administrative positions in his 50 years at USC, died on Oct. 7. He was 84 years old.
Kreditor worked as senior vice president for university advancement for 16 years and as the first dean of the USC School of Urban Planning and Development for 18 years.
Kreditor played a crucial role in establishing both the Master of Real Estate Development degree and the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate in 1974. Colleagues said Kreditor reimagined the intersection between urban planning and real estate development with these advancements.
“He was the one who managed to establish [the school of Urban Planning],” Price professor Genevieve Giuliano, who worked under Kreditor, said. “And then he was the first one to establish a real estate master’s degree within a school of planning. So that was a very big deal nationally. All the other real estate programs are actually in departments of economics or of public policy, but never in a planning school.”
Peter Gordon, a former professor and colleague of Kreditor for 50 years, said Kreditor’s ability to predict the future of urban planning “flabbergasted” him.
“Up to that time [in the 1970s], there was not a lot of real estate higher education,” Gordon said. “Alan read the tea leaves and saw that there was a need for this, there would be industry support for this and he made it all happen. So he managed to hire faculty, recruit students and recruit donors and support groups to create one of the first programs, real estate development, and that works spectacularly.”
Kreditor made significant headway for USC’s philanthropic efforts as senior vice president for university advancement. The Building on Excellence campaign in 2002 raised more than $2.9 billion for USC. It was not only the most successful fundraising campaign in USC’s history, but in the history of American higher education.
USC raised more than $5.5 billion in gifts and pledges in Kreditor’s stint as senior vice president, a testament to his focus on philanthropy and alumni relations.
“He had this ability to sell the idea and get people to not just roll up their sleeves and commit and play, but to also donate funds and energy,” Gordon said. "Not everybody can do that, it’s an interesting skill. And he made it happen.
Kreditor also made many advancements in USC’s international relationships. He created an office of international development and alumni relations to bolster educational interests and led commissions to Asia to network with USC partners abroad.
Beyond his administrative roles, Kreditor worked directly with students as a professor emeritus of urban planning and spatial analysis.
Kreditor’s legacy lives beyond his educational and fundraising successes. Giuliano said she did not “sit around telling jokes” while working with Kreditor, but noted his influential impact.
“He was a very expressive person,” Giuliano said. “He had a lot of personality. Whatever room he was in. He kind of dominated the room. That kind of personality.”
Gordon feels that Kreditor “was an original,” and that he always left meetings with Kreditor with gained knowledge. He said students and faculty throughout USC, not just at Price, have Kreditor to thank for the betterment of the university.
“[USC] was a better place when he left than when he got there,” Gordon said. “For that to happen, you got to plan, to have a vision, to follow through. And he did that on a daily basis. And he was mission oriented, devoted and very interested in getting it right.”
Kreditor is survived by his wife Marcia; son Eoin (and Tina); daughters Juliet (and Eddie) Straker and Claudia (and Kevin) Reilly. He is preceded in death by his son Garrett.