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BS, Banking & Finance, University of Utah, 1956
MBA, Columbia University School of Business, 1958
Huntsman School of Business Commencement Speaker - May 8, 2010
Spencer Fox Eccles is chairman emeritus of the Wells Fargo Intermountain Banking Region. For 40 years with First Security Bank and nearly two decades as its chairman and CEO, he carried on the Eccles leadership of the oldest multi-state bank holding company in the United States, a distinction First Security still held at the time of its historic merger with Wells Fargo in October 2000. Today, Mr. Eccles remains active not only in the national and international banking communities, but also as a much-admired philanthropist, businessman and family man.
Mr. Eccles was born and raised in Ogden, Utah, the son of Spencer Stoddard Eccles and Hope Fox Eccles. The grandson of pioneering Utah industrialist David Eccles, he is a true “native son” of the West, who has invested his time and resources generously to help ensure the future vitality of Utah and its citizens.
A graduate of Ogden High School, Mr. Eccles went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance in 1956 from the University of Utah, where he was an active member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. After completing a tour of duty as a lieutenant in the U. S. Army Infantry, he went on to earn his master’s degree from Columbia University School of Business.
It was during his college years that Mr. Eccles met Cleone Peterson of Fairview, Utah, and the couple was married in 1958. Today, their family of three daughters, one son and nine grandchildren includes: Hope Eccles and Randal Quarles (Randy, Spencer and Emily Hope); Lisa Eccles; Katie Eccles and David Burnett (Eliza, Marie, Grace and David); and Spencer P. and Kristine Eccles (Clara and Mary).
An avid skier, Mr. Eccles was a member of the ski teams at Ogden High School at the University of Utah, where he was a four-year letterman and All American. He skied competitively after college and won a spot on the 1958 U. S. World Championship F.I.S. ski squad. In 1998 he was inducted into the University of Utah Sports Hall of Fame, and he received the Joe Quinney Lifetime of Skiing Achievement Award in 2000. Five years later, he was awarded Utah’s Ski Archives “History Maker” award for his achievements on the slopes.
Mr. Eccles began his banking career with First National City Bank in New York City in 1959, and joined First Security Bank in 1960. He was named President of First Security Corporation in 1975 and became its Chairman and CEO in 1982. Under his leadership, First Security Corporation’s assets grew from $4 billion to more than $23 billion, and included offices in seven states and real estate mortgage offices nationwide. He has served in leadership roles with all of the nation’s major banking associations, including membership on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 1983-88.
A licensed multi-engine airplane pilot, Mr. Eccles owns and operates two cattle ranches in Idaho and one in Wyoming. He is the general partner of his family’s Eccles Investment Company, which owns and operates the Goldener Hirsch Inn in Deer Valley, Utah.
Among the most active leaders in Utah’s philanthropic community, Mr. Eccles serves as chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation. He also serves on the boards of three other Eccles family foundations, including the Emma Eccles Jones, Nora Eccles Treadwell and Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Foundations, through which he helps direct funding toward many educational, cultural arts, social welfare, healthcare, athletic, and historic/environmental preservation programs in Utah.
Mr. Eccles played an integral role in the success of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Utah as a member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee’s Board of Directors and Management Committee. He was selected as a torch bearer along the anchor segment in Ogden, Utah, where he lighted the Olympic Cauldron at Ogden’s Union Station. He was also appointed mayor of the 2002 Athlete Olympic Village, and received the International Olympic Committee’s highest honor – the Pierre de Coubertin Medal – recognizing his exceptional service to the Olympic Ideal.
At the University of Utah, Mr. Eccles holds the position of treasurer, serves as a member and former chairman of its National Advisory Council and also serves on the David Eccles School of Business National Advisory Board. From 1994-2000, he chaired the U’s Sesquicentennial Campaign “Generations of Excellence,” which raised more than $768 million in private support for his alma mater. He is a recipient of the U’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, was inducted into its School of Business Hall of Fame in 1990 and has received its Honorary Doctorate in addition to six additional honorary doctorates from other institutions.
Mr. Eccles was Honorary Consul of Finland for the states of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming for 22 years, concluding in 2004. The following year His Excellency Jukka Valtasaari, Finland’s Ambassador to the United States, awarded Mr. Eccles the Insignia of the Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland for his more than two decades of service.
Among the many community accolades awarded to Mr. Eccles are the Salt Lake Chamber’s “Giant in Our City” award and the State of Utah’s Corporate Spirit of Giving award. He has been honored as the Friends for Sight “Person of Vision,” and is a recipient of the National Conference of Christians and Jews Brotherhood Award, Utah’s Public Sector Common Good Award, the MS Society of Utah’s McCarthey Silver Hope Award, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation’s “Father of the Year” award.
Mr. Eccles is also a recipient of the National Beta Theta Pi “Oxford Cup” for exceptional achievement and the Utah National Guard Minuteman Award. He was named the Governor’s 1997 "Businessperson of the Year", the Utah Bankers Association "Distinguished Banker", and – along with NBA Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller – a "YMCA Man of the Year" in 2006. He was inducted into Jr. Achievement’s Business Hall of Fame in 1994, and received the Football Hall of Fame “Contribution to Amateur Football” award in 1999.
In July 2002, Mr. Eccles was honored to be named grand marshall of the Ogden Pioneer Days Parade, a role reminiscent of his own early years in Ogden, Utah, and his western heritage. His maternal grandfather, B. M. Fox – a friend of Buffalo Bill and a world champion saddle bronc rider in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show – founded the Ogden Wild West Show. His mother, Hope Fox Eccles was an accomplished horsewoman who was crowned Miss Ogden and Miss Utah of the Ogden Wild West Show in 1921.
Mr. Eccles serves on the boards of Intermountain Healthcare, Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation, the U. S. Ski and Snowboard Foundation, Alta Ski Lifts Corporation, Utah Athletics Foundation, Utah Sports Commission, National Chamber Foundation, The Nature Conservancy of Utah, and on Wells Fargo’s Northern Utah Community, Salt Lake Community and Utah Business Partners Boards. Only recently did he conclude his service on the boards of the National Parks Foundation, Anderson Lumber and Union Pacific. He also served previously on the boards of the Wells Fargo Corp., U. S. Chamber of Commerce, President Reagan’s Grace Commission, Ballet West, Pioneer Theatre Company and the Utah Symphony & Opera.
He is a founding member of the Coalition for Utah’s Future and co-chairs with Governor Gary Herbert its subsidiary, Envision Utah. He also serves on the boards of the Alliance for Unity, the Downtown Theatre Action Committee, Senator Bennett’s Finance Committee, the National Indian Advisory Council and the National Advisory Board for Women’s Ski Jumping USA.
Spencer F. Eccles advises grads to live balanced life (The Huntsman Post - August 2010)
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