George S. Eccles
The name of George S. Eccles, which has graced Utah State University’s business building since its dedication in 1970, represents far more than generosity from a time gone by. It continues to stand for Mr. Eccles’ own distinguished career in the banking industry, and his lifelong interest in “raising the economic literacy and business acumen” of students at USU.
Eccles gave life to his passion for business education through his hands-on involvement with the business school, where he established the George S. Eccles Distinguished Lecture Series more than 40 years ago. With the continuing support of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, this landmark series – in conjunction with the Partners In Business program – has brought outstanding national and international business leaders to USU every year since, engaging students and faculty in discussions that widen their global vision of the business world.
Spencer F. Eccles, chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, reminisces with fondness about his late uncle’s pride in the USU business school. “Uncle George was determined to help ensure that coming generations of business leaders in our state and nation would have the foundation of knowledge to be successful. He often said he wanted to ‘stamp out economic illiteracy’ wherever he found it! And he put that determined interest into action through his involvement and financial support.”
“Growing up in Logan, George had a special fondness not only for this community, but also for the time he spent as a Utah State ‘Aggie’ before he completed his education at Columbia University in New York,” recalls Eccles. “I remember how pleased he was to help fund the construction of Utah State’s business building … and how thrilled he was to learn it would bear his name!”
George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles look at a portrait of Mr. Eccles
“We’re proud that our campus home is named for a leader we want our students to emulate,” says Dean Douglas D. Anderson. “George S. Eccles proved to be not only a capable business leader, but also someone who exemplified the ethical leadership and community involvement we want our students to demonstrate in school and after graduation.”
George Eccles’ life was synonymous with business success and philanthropy. As chairman and CEO of First Security Corporation for nearly four decades (1945-1982), he was a moving force in Utah’s business and banking communities and in the growth of the oldest multi-state bank holding company in the United States. First Security still held this distinction when it merged with Wells Fargo in 2000. His talents were tapped early on, when he served as an economic and financial consultant to the Marshall Plan, which played a key role in restructuring post-World War II Europe.
George & Dolores Dore Eccles at Business Building opining in 1970
Eccles and his wife, Dolores Doré Eccles, shared a love of sports of all kinds – from skiing and tennis, to golf and swimming – and a tireless dedication to community causes. Eccles served as a director of Union Pacific Railroad as well as many other local, national and international companies, and was on the Utah Symphony board for more than 20 years. His leadership of the University of Utah’s Medical Center Expansion fund drive in the 1970s helped garner more than $10 million in private support – the first campaign in Utah to achieve such a goal. Today, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, established by Mr. and Mrs. Eccles in 1958, carries on their philanthropic interests under the leadership of their nephew Spencer F. Eccles. Through the foundation’s statewide grant-making programs, they continue to improve the quality of life enjoyed by all Utahns.
The College of Business presented Eccles with the first Distinguished Executive Alumnus Award. The award recognized him “for promoting excellence in management practice and education.” For that – and so much more – the newly renovated George S. Eccles Business Building continues to proudly bear his name as its students benefit from his legacy.