By Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College announced last night three new gift commitments totaling $6 million from Shamrock Foods, Karl and Stevie Eller of Phoenix, and the Diamond family of Tucson.
The announcement came at a celebration of Arizona NOW: The Campaign for the University of Arizona, hosted by the Eller College and the UA Foundation National Leadership Council at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
The Shamrock Foods gift of $3.5 million establishes the McClelland Family Endowment for Faculty Excellence, which will help the Eller College attract and retain outstanding teachers and researchers in the business disciplines.
The Eller gift of $1.5 million will name the Professional Development Center, a two-story addition to the business school that will house undergraduate career coaches, recruiter meeting space and student collaboration space.
The Diamond gift of $1 million will support the Eller College’s overall campaign priorities.
“The Eller, McClelland and Diamond families have long histories with the UA,” said James H. Moore Jr., president and CEO of the UA Foundation. “These new commitments contribute to their respective legacies, which will benefit business students at the university for generations to come.”
Norman P. McClelland, chairman of Shamrock Foods, and his late sister Frances graduated from the UA.
“Norm has been a force for growth and change at the University of Arizona for decades,” said Len Jessup, dean of the Eller College. “Over 20 years ago, the visionary leadership he and Frances brought made a new building possible for the Eller College. We are grateful for the family’s unwavering support, particularly of faculty, who are the cornerstone of every leading business school.”
Faculty reputation is a key factor considered by peer schools that vote in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings. In September, the Eller College was named No. 21 overall and No. 11 among public undergraduate business programs in the 2015 America’s Best Colleges issue.
Karl and Stevie Eller are UA alumni and among the most influential figures in Arizona’s history. Their generosity has benefited higher education, business, sports and the arts.
“Karl is truly a visionary, not just as a leader in outdoor advertising and in his other entrepreneurial ventures,” Jessup said. “In the early 1980s, he came to the UA with the concept of establishing a place where students could learn how to be entrepreneurs. In 1984, our entrepreneurship program became one of the first named centers in the country.”
The center, now known as the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, is consistently ranked among the country’s best. Its flagship, yearlong program was named No. 6 in the country and No. 2 among public programs by U.S. News & World Report.
“We are honored that the Eller College bears his name,” Jessup said. “Entrepreneurship and innovation continue to be a hallmark of what we call the Eller experience, thanks in part to the extraordinary example he sets for our students.”
Donald and Joan Diamond also are UA alumni. Donald is the chairman of Diamond Ventures, a leading real estate and private equity company in the region. The Diamond family’s giving includes Diamond Children’s Medical Center, part of the UA Health Network.
“Don is a leader and entrepreneur whose insight has benefited the Eller College National Board of Advisors for many years,” Jessup said. “The Diamond Family Foundation and its leader, Helaine Levy, also supports faculty in finance at the Eller College, which helps us retain the very best teachers for our students.”
In addition to the McClelland, Eller and Diamond gift announcements at the Musical Instrument Museum, the Eller College also recognized 11 individuals who have made previously announced gifts in excess of $1 million each toward the college’s campaign goal of $65 million.
The overall goal of Arizona NOW: The Campaign for the University of Arizona is $1.5 billion.
Top image of Eller dean with (L-R): Norm and Barbara McClelland and Stevie and Karl Eller by Rubino West Photography.