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Home > About GDB > Gallery of Presidents

Gallery of Past Presidents


Rafael Picó (1958-1964)

Rafel Picó was born in Coamo on December 29, 1912. He pursued geography studies at the University of Puerto Rico and received a bachelor's degree with honors in 1932. In 1934, he obtained a Master of Arts and, in 1938, a doctorate, both from Clark University. Clark University, in 1962, and Eastern Michigan University each granted Picó a honorary doctorate in Law. In addition to working as full professor with the University of Puerto Rico at the Río Piedras campus, Rafael Picó taught geography at Northwestern University and Catholic American University. He lectured at Harvard, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Miami and Antioch.

Prior to his appointment as President of the Bank in 1958, Pico had held the positions of Planning Board President and Treasury Secretary. During his term at the GDB, he developed the private sector loan area and took part in innovative projects, such as, the restoration of the San Juan Historic Zone and the construction of the first condominium building (Professional Building), which made Puerto Rico a pioneer in this type of construction project both in the island and in the United States.


One of the most significant achievements during this period was the Bank's initiative to promote a Constitutional amendment to increase the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's borrowing capacity, which facilitated the completion of  public work projects that had already been started. Picó presided over the Bank through early 1964 and served as senator from 1965-68.


In the private sector, he served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, advisor on planning and public administration for several Latin American countries, and visiting professor in several universities in Puerto Rico and the United States.  He was also advisor to the United Nations in several Latin American countries and President of the American Society of Planning Officials and of the Inter American Planning Society. Picó passed away in San Juan on May 5, 1998.

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