Richard Bender (1930–2022) was born in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from the City University of New York with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1951 before pursuing graduate studies at MIT and at Harvard University, where he completed his degree in 1956. Following graduation, he married artist and writer Sue Rosenfeld. They lived in Europe for two years before returning to New York, and eventually relocated to California in 1969. Bender is an architect and urban planner with extensive experience in urban, campus, and community design. He served as Chair of UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture, as Associate Dean for research and Dean of the College of Environmental Design, and as director of the Campus Planning Study Group and the Urban Construction Laboratory at UC Berkeley. He also taught at The Cooper Union, Columbia University, the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Swiss Federal Technical University, and the Instituto Universitario Arquitettura in Venice.
The Richard Bender Collection spans the years 1950–2013, and includes files created by Bender and associated research organizations. The collection documents his career including his education, research interests, architectural practice, and consulting endeavors. He is known for his work in directing master plans throughout the University of California System, many of which are well documented in this collection.