Pam Lopker made a fateful decision as a senior at UC Santa Barbara more than 40 years ago. Worried that her studies in mathematics and economics may not lead to gainful employment once she graduated, she enrolled in computer programming classes. The rest, as they say, is history.
QAD, the software company she founded two years out of college in 1979, has become a regional economic force, employing almost 2,000 workers worldwide and posting annual revenue of more than $300 million. Thoma Bravo recently acquired the company for $2 billion.
Now she would like others to learn from her example.
“I want students to be mindful of what they will do after they graduate from college,” said Pam, who now serves as a QAD Board member.
In particular, she would like more students to become STEM majors. With that in mind, the Lopker Family Foundation Scholarship Fund, established in 2016, supports the children of QAD employees who are college upperclassman, with a preference given to those studying a STEM field who demonstrate academic merit.
In addition, the Karl Lopker Memorial Scholarship Fund – founded in 2018 in honor of Pam’s late husband, Deckers and QAD cofounder Karl Lopker – supports students who transfer from Santa Barbara City College to a California public university and major in a STEM field.
“There are so many opportunities for STEM majors in the United States, and I want to encourage as many students as possible to explore these fields of study,” said Pam.
“I sometimes worry that Americans are not pursuing these fields to the extent other countries are. I can tell you from firsthand experience that STEM work can be very fulfilling. It’s not just sitting at a computer terminal.”