Vision, Mission and History

Vision, Mission and History

Transformation starts with exploration.

For tens of thousands of students, the Eller College has been the perfect blend of challenge, community and opportunity. This combination is the foundation of our approach to business education. Learn more:

Our Vision

The Eller College of Management will be a top 10 public business school and a leader in digital business and the innovation economy.

Our Mission

The Eller College of Management’s mission is to discover and share new knowledge that shapes the future of business and to educate the next generation of responsible, global leaders who embody the changing business world and possess the knowledge and drive to impact it.

The University of Arizona Core Values

Integrity: Be honest, respectful and just

Compassion: Choose to care

Exploration: Be insatiably curious

Adaptation: Stay open-minded and eager for what's next

Inclusion: Harness the power of diversity

Determination: Bear Down

The Eller Way

As students, faculty and staff members at the Eller College of Management, we embrace a long and sustained culture of excellence. Our school is nationally recognized, and our contribution is critical to our continued elevation. Our standards are high and call us to:


Do the right thing 100 percent of the time.


Consistently surpass ordinary standards.


Creatively anticipate and leverage change.  


See challenges as opportunities.


Create a community where everybody thrives.

Our History


The University of Arizona established a Bachelor of Science in commerce… and six years later, a Master of Arts in economics.


W.T. McClelland started New Modern Dairy with 20 cows and a Model T. The venture was later renamed Shamrock Dairy.


The Department of Business was formally created. Six years later, with 550 students and 14 faculty, the University created the School of Business and Public Administration. (This turned into a college in 1943.)


The School takes up residence in North Hall.


Karl Eller enlists in the U.S. Army.


The College is accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and Karl Eller returns to his studies at UA.


Norm McClelland graduates and starts working at Shamrock Dairy, which he and his sister Frances later take over from their father. That same year, the Bureau of Business Research was established.


Karl Eller and Joan Stevens graduate and marry.


The MBA degree started.


The Department of Accounting was established.


The first Ph.D. program was offered.


Karl Eller purchases the Arizona operations of New York-based ad company Foster and Kleiser. Six years later, he formed Combined Communications, which developed into seven television stations, 14 radio stations, 12 outdoor advertising companies, and two daily newspapers… all bought out by Gannett in 1979-80.


Professor Jay Nunamaker launched the nation’s first MIS curriculum, which has since consistently been a top-5 program in the country.


The College’s 70-member National Board of Advisors was formed.


Karl Eller became chairman and CEO of Circle K, and the Karl vEller Center for the Study of the Private Market Economy opened, later becoming the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, eventually endowed as a center by Chris and Carol McGuire.


Professor Vernon Smith established the field of economic sciences and in 2002 won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work.


The Eller College established the Center for Management Information (CMI) with a $2 million grant from IBM.


The Karl Eller Graduate School of Management is officially established. Siblings Norman and Frances McClelland pledge $2.5 million toward the construction of a new facility.


McClelland Hall was born. A $20-million 180,000-square-foot project with 152 offices, classrooms, labs, centers, an auditorium, and an atrium to house thousands of students and more than 120 faculty.


Karl Eller sells Eller Media to Clear Channel for $1.15 billion.


The entire college is renamed as the Eller College of Management.


The Undergraduate Professional Admissions process starts.


Karl Eller was inducted into the American Advertising Hall of Fame.


The Executive MBA launches in Phoenix.


The MISOnline launched the first of what will eventually become six online programs. That same year, the Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare was created.


The Center for Leadership Ethics is launched.


Eller’s first micro-campus was started in Cambodia.


The Department of Accounting is designated as the School of Accountancy.


The School of Accountancy is formally named The Dhaliwal-Reidy School of Accountancy.


The Department of Business Analytics is formally named The HSLopez School of Business Analytics.

Karl Eller, 1928-2019

Husband, father, grandfather, executive, entrepreneur, veteran, Arizonan, alumnus—Karl Eller was born in 1928 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Tucson.

He graduated high school in 1946, enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country for three years before enrolling at the University of Arizona. Two days after his 1952 graduation, Karl married the love of his life, Joan “Stevie” Stevens ’52 BS (Education).

About a decade later, Eller Outdoor Advertising was born. Eventually, Karl went on to lead the Gannett Company and Columbia Pictures, serving as board chairman and CEO. In the early 1980s, he became chairman and CEO of the Circle K Corporation, building it into the second largest convenience store operation in the country. Later, he became chairman/CEO of Eller Media Company, sold to Clear Channel Communications in 1997. In the course of his career, Karl weathered his share of downturns and setbacks with determination and style, seeing each as an opportunity for transformation.

An early believer that entrepreneurs could be developed through education, Karl provided the founding gift to create the Chris and Carol McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, one of the first centers of its kind in the United States. In 1998, The University of Arizona School of Business was renamed the Eller College of Management in recognition of his enormous impact on the university, the college and the thousands of students who walk through its doors every year. 

The pillars of the college reflect his foundations:

  • The pursuit of excellence
  • An entrepreneurial spirit
  • A “relentless pattern of calculated risk taking, innovation and integrity”

Karl passed away in 2019 at the age of 90. He was immensely proud of the college that bears his name, and all its programs, activities, initiatives and people. Members of the Eller community, collectively, strive to, every day, act with integrity, think entrepreneurially, embrace change and transform challenges into opportunities. In this way, we honor Karl’s memory, live up to his name and continue his legacy.