December 5, 2017

McKenna Young
484-385-2913 (office)
[email protected]

Real Estate Developer and Renowned Philanthropist Ernest S. Rady to Receive 2018 Horatio Alger Award

Horatio Alger Association names 12 exceptional individuals, each of whom has overcome significant challenges to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 5, 2017) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Ernest S. Rady, founder, executive chairman of the board, CEO and president, American Assets Trust, Inc. and founder and chairman, ICW Group Insurance Companies, has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Rady joins 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2018 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.

Mr. Rady was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to a family who placed immense value on helping the less fortunate. Mr. Rady’s mother, Rose, volunteered much of her time to charitable organizations; his father, Max, was an obstetrician gynecologist during the Depression, offering his services to those who could not afford to pay him. When Mr. Rady was 15, his father’s health began to fail. Max Rady suffered strokes and heart attacks, leaving him unable to care for the family. Mr. Rady took it upon himself to become the financial head of the household, overseeing the family’s small auto finance business and managing the family’s finances, all while attending high school and then University. Mr. Rady attended his father’s alma mater, the University of Manitoba, where he earned a degree in Commerce and received the University Gold Medal in Commerce for graduating first in his class. He went on to earn a Juris Doctor from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law.  In 2015, the University of Manitoba Law Society bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctor of Law, a great honor to Mr. Rady.

Mr. Rady was first introduced to the real estate industry while in college, working for a lumber and building material wholesaler and retailer. In 1962, he bought a construction equipment rental company, and in that same year, he purchased control of Western Homes, which he merged five years later with a small oil and gas company, Summit Resources. In 1966, Mr. Rady and family left Canada seeking a milder climate in San Diego, California, a far cry from the harsh Manitoba winters.  In 1967, Mr. Rady founded American Assets, Inc., which started as a 112 unit apartment complex under construction that he ran from the trunk of his car in San Diego. Over the next 50 years, he transformed it into a thriving real estate business with a current market value of nearly $2.6 billion and assets totaling $4.5 billion. In 1971, Mr. Rady established Insurance Company of the West, a company that underwrote select commercial insurance risks in California. Today, the privately-held company provides workers’ compensation, surety, earthquake, and personal and business automobile insurance across multiple states.

“Ernest’s story is one that likely sounds familiar to many of our Members and Scholars, as it speaks to putting others’ needs in front of one’s own,” said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “His dedication to his family and his subsequent entrepreneurial successes provide our Scholars with an excellent example of how they can turn struggles into triumphs, never losing sight of loved ones. We are proud to recognize Ernest as a new Member.”

Always one to provide assistance to others, Mr. Rady and his wife, Evelyn, generously support many charitable organizations through the Rady Family Foundation. Notable contributions include: Rady Children’s Hospital; The University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences; Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute; The Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego; Jewish Family Services of San Diego; and the World Famous San Diego Zoo. Mr. Rady has also served on the Boards of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, Scripps Health and the San Diego chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He frequently spends time giving back to Canadian organizations, including Junior Achievement Manitoba and Children’s Aid Society.

“The hurdles I faced in my younger years taught me resilience and instilled in me a confidence that I’ve carried with me throughout my personal and professional life,” said Mr. Rady. “My induction into the Horatio Alger Association is a proud moment for me. Understanding the importance of hope and determination in challenging times, I am committed to providing these tenacious, deserving Scholars with the support needed to achieve their goals.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $143 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.

Mr. Rady and the Member Class of 2018 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 5-7, 2018, during the Association’s 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2018, please visit and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $143 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit