Seizing Opportunity and Giving Back
Rarely has the nature of an academic institution so closely reflected the personal character and professional achievement of its greatest benefactor. Karl Eller's enterprising spirit, his capacity for innovation, and his drive to distinguish his own life by contributing to the development of his community make him a true namesake.
His business career has followed a relentless pattern of calculated risk-taking, innovation, and integrity. In the early 1960s, he saw the possibilities in outdoor advertising in America's blossoming love affair with the automobile. He bought a fledgling Phoenix billboard company and built it into one of the nation's largest, then branched into other media.
After merging his company with Gannett, he moved on to head Columbia Pictures and then Circle K Corporation before returning to his roots in advertising.
Reinventing the outdoor advertising business, he built Eller Media Company's billboard business into a Silicon Valley leading advertising medium at the height of the 1990s dot-com boom, and later sold it to media giant Clear Channel, Inc. In 2004, his achievements earned him a place in the Advertising Hall of Fame.
Karl Eller exemplifies the extraordinary benefit to a community when a person combines professional skill with commitment to serve.
An early believer that entrepreneurs could be developed through education, he provided one of the founding gifts to create the Chris and Carol McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, and to date has given millions of dollars in support of our programs. He has served on the judging panel of the annual business plans competition since its inception in 1985, and solicits the participation of the Anheuser-Busch Entrepreneur-in-Residence each year.
This uncommon capacity to see and seize opportunity, and then to give back, make Karl Eller's name a symbol of our philosophy and our aspirations in management education.