Huntsman Post

Spencer F. Eccles tells students that balance and kindness must be part of a successful career

Dean Douglas D. Anderson and Spencer F. Eccles stop in front of a picture of George S. Eccles as the two tour the renovated George S. Eccles Business Building. - Photo by Sterling Morris

By Steve Eaton

A successful business career needs to include focus, vigilance and hard work but it also should be tempered with kindness and life balance.

Spencer F. Eccles was the commencement speaker at the 2010 Jon M. Huntsman School of Business graduation ceremony, held in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum at Utah State University last May. He shared with students things he said he’s learned in the “school of hard knocks” and used examples from the lives of some of his personal heroes to illustrate his points.

Mr. Eccles, who graduated from the University of Utah, serves as chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. That foundation has granted more than $300 million in gifts since it began in 1982. He also serves on the boards of four other Eccles family foundations. He is the chairman emeritus of the Wells Fargo Intermountain Banking Region.

Dana Swensen, a principal lecturer, right, enjoys a few minutes with her daughter, Sydney Briscoe, just before graduation. - Photo by Steve Eaton

Mr. Eccles said students should always give an intense effort and should temper their work with kindness, stabilizing their lives through “the personal security of a loving family.”

Mr. Eccles told stories of several people he considers heroes, including former baseball pitcher Dale Murphy, the late football Hall of Famer, Merlin Olsen, and Utah Jazz Hall of Famer, John Stockton. He advised the students to be “everyday heroes” as well.

He told them to be heroes to themselves, their families and the many other people they can lift and inspire.

Natali Naegle, was the USU and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business valedictorian speaker in May 2010. - Photo by Steve Eaton

“The formula is really quite simple,” he said, “work hard, be kind and love your family. Strive to be the best you can be, and in doing so, ironically, you’ll help others to reach their goals also.”

Dean Douglas D. Anderson introduced Mr. Eccles and predicted that in 100 years there will be many wealthy families in Utah and that some will seek to emulate the contributions of the Eccles family foundations.

“It is safe to say that no other foundation will exceed their role in our community for they are the bridge – the indispensible bridge – from our pioneer poverty to our future prosperity,” he said. “Each one of us, whether we know it or not, owes a great deal to the vision and generosity of multiple generations of the Eccles’ foundations and their family, including Spence’s uncle, George, who was born and raised right here in Logan, Utah.”

Mr. Eccles came on a significant anniversary for the Huntsman School of Business.

“We have a special reason to be grateful for the memory of George S. And Dolores Doré Eccles today,” Dean Anderson said, “for it was on this day, 40 years ago, May 8, 1970, that our beautiful George S. Eccles Business Building was dedicated.”

Tyler Bowles, professor and head of the Department of Economics and Finance, saw his son, Austin Bowles, graduate in May of 2010. - Photo by Steve Eaton

A contribution from George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles helped make the new building a reality in 1970. Dean Anderson presented Spencer Eccles a memento made from the original marble that was used in the building, recognizing the anniversary and the Eccles ongoing contributions to the study of business and finance at USU.

In 2007 and 2008, the building underwent major renovation work that was funded, in part, with a $1 million donation from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Dean Anderson guided Spencer Eccles and his wife, Cleone, on a tour of the building just before commencement started. They were accompanied by Jami Dixon and Chance Murray, who are students and Business Ambassadors.