A Family’s Legacy

Trinity is pleased to recognize and honor the Payden Family, and our benefactor, Joan A. Payden, through the new Payden Academic Center. The story of the Payden Family is a genuine source of inspiration for current and future Trinity students. The story begins in Derby, Connecticut, where Joseph R. Payden (known as J.R.) was born to Thomas and Jennie Paden in 1896. World War I broke out while J.R. was pursuing an engineering degree at Yale. J.R. enlisted in the U.S. military in 1917, but because he wanted to fly at a time when the United States had no Air Force, he went to England to join the Royal Flying Corps as a fighter pilot. After the war, he returned to Yale to complete his degree and then joined the Union Carbide Corporation. J.R. soon became a world traveler, visiting numerous cities throughout the Far East on behalf of the company.
In 1929, J.R. married Molly Reynolds from Shelton, Connecticut. Prior to their marriage, Molly was on the staff of President Charles Seymour at Yale and later served in the New York City schools as a guidance counselor after attending Columbia University. Molly and J.R. had two children, Joan Payden and Bill Payden, and when the children were toddlers, J.R. returned to Indonesia as CEO of Union Carbide Java Ltd. The family lived for many years in Jakarta where Molly pursued her artistic creativities and became an accomplished portrait artist. The family returned to New York when Bill and Joan began high school.
Bill Payden attended the University of Notre Dame and later earned his journalism degree from the University of Colorado, and his master’s degree in American studies from the California State University in Los Angeles. Bill was a journalist, a public relations consultant, an expert in mass media and media arts, a pianist and avid collector of sports memorabilia, aviation artifacts, classic cars and films. After Bill’s death in 2013, Trinity was deeply grateful to receive an extraordinary gift from his estate.
Joan Payden is a member of Trinity’s Class of 1953. A math and physics major, she later graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. She entered the investment management industry and became the first woman national partner of Scudder, Stevens & Clark, the oldest investment firm in the U.S., founded in 1918. In 1983, Joan launched her own company, Payden & Rygel Investment Management. With $100 billion in assets under management in 2016, Payden & Rygel is a renowned global investment firm with offices in Los Angeles, Boston, London, Paris and Frankfurt.
Even as she built the Payden & Rygel company, money manager Joan Payden devoted considerable volunteer time and resources to schools, universities, healthcare and other community causes. She is a trustee of the University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, among many others. She is a former Trinity Trustee. In 2013, the CFA Institute honored Joan with its highest honor, the CFA Institute Award for Professional Excellence, for her “exemplary achievement, excellence of practice and true leadership,” in the investment profession and in the community.
Among her many charitable causes, Joan Payden has ensured a strong and vibrant future for Trinity through her remarkable gifts and strong affirmation of Trinity’s mission and values. With its state-of-the-art laboratories, advanced instrumentation and simulation labs, spacious classrooms and pervasive technology, the Payden Academic Center will ensure Trinity’s academic excellence in nursing and healthcare programs, in the sciences and all academic disciplines for generations to come.