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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > $1.5 million gift to Eller

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

Thomas R. Brown Private Foundation announces a $1.5 million gift to UA's Eller College of Management to establish an endowed chair in economic education and recognize a great leader in Professor Gerald J. Swanson

TUCSON, Ariz. – April 15, 2004 – The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management today announces a significant gift from the Thomas R. Brown Private Foundation. This new gift from the Thomas R. Brown Private Foundation establishes a $1.5 million endowed chair in the Eller College Economics Department.

At the same time, this gift recognizes the profound teaching accomplishments of Professor Gerald J. Swanson as the inaugural recipient of the Thomas R. Brown Chair in Economic Education. The Thomas R. Brown Chair in Economic Education will be renamed the Gerald J. Swanson Chair in Economic Education upon his retirement. The Brown Foundation states that the chair holder be an economic scholar and teacher who excels in the ability to educate undergraduate students, teachers, and the general public about important economic concepts and their application to business and public policy.

Professor Swanson does just that and so much more. From the day he arrived at The University of Arizona more than thirty years ago, Gerry Swanson has been an extraordinary teacher, teaching hundreds of students at a time (and the large lecture format is the hardest in which to reach out and affect students), a total of more than 40,000 students altogether. But the 40,000 or so students that Gerry has taught at the UA are only a small fraction of the people who have been influenced by his efforts and gifts as a teacher. He has taught hundreds of college and high school students how to teach economics, how to understand and apply economic principles, and how to impart an excitement for economics in their students. He has educated the public through countless public lectures to business, government, education and civic organizations. And he has discussed economic issues on national television, including NBC’s Today Show, Larry King Live, and Leo Dobbs Money Line.

Kenneth R. Smith, interim dean of the Eller College, said, “We are thankful to the Brown family for this extremely generous gift and for their ongoing partnership with the College. The excitement that Professor Swanson brings to his class and his ability to communicate the importance and intellectual challenges of the subject is what fundamentally alters the lives of our students every day.”

Thomas R. Brown’s daughters, Mary B. Brown and Sarah B. Smallhouse (Eller MBA, ’88), trustees of the family foundation, were at the kick-off dinner of the Eller College National Board of Advisor’s Spring 2004 meeting this evening to present the award to the College and Professor Swanson. Sarah Smallhouse, president and spokesperson for the Brown Foundation, said, “It is with great pleasure that we give $1.5 million to establish the Thomas R. Brown Chair in Economic Education at the Eller College of Management and honor Dr. Swanson. Our late father worked very closely with Dr. Swanson and deeply respected his commitment, professionalism, and enthusiasm for economic education. In establishing this honor, we all gain enormously.”

The Brown Private Foundation was established by the Brown family in memory of Thomas R. Brown, Jr., a long-time Tucsonan who in 1956 co-founded Burr-Brown, Inc. in his garage. Through his commitment to making world-class products and the effective management of talented employees, he led Burr-Brown to worldwide prominence in the development, manufacturing and marketing of data conversion and mixed signal integrated circuits. The company was acquired by Texas Instruments in 2000. Tom Brown received an undergraduate engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program No. 11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program No. 48 in the U.S. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the No. 25-ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 800 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and on its satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

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