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 Eller Way

Integrity

We are honest, respectful and just. We act ethically and don't take shortcuts. We do the right thing 100 percent of the time.

Innovation

We are curious, constantly looking for new and better solutions.
  

Excellence

We surpass ordinary standards in learning, teaching, research, career preparation and personal engagement.

Determination

We are determined and scrappy, tenacious and full of grit. We see our challenges as opportunities for growth.

Inclusion

We are better when we come together to collaborate and create diverse, inclusive environments where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive. We choose to care about each other. We choose to view each other as family.


Our History

1913

The University of Arizona establishes a bachelor of science in commerce… and six years later, a master of arts in economics.

1922

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

1927

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

1938

The School takes up residence in North Hall.

1946

Karl Eller enlists in the U.S. Army.

1948

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

1949

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 is established.

1952

Karl Eller and Joan Stevens graduate and marry.

1953

The MBA degree starts.

1958

The Department of Accounting is established.

1961

The first PhD program is offered.

1962

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

1974

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

1982

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

1983

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

1984

Professor Vernon Smith establishes the field of economic sciences and in 2002 wins the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences his work.

1985

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

1987

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

1992

McClelland Hall is born. A $20-million project, it has 180,000-square feet, 152 offices, classrooms, labs, centers, auditorium and atrium to house thousands of students and more than 120 faculty.

1997

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

1999

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

2001

The Undergraduate Professional Admissions process starts.

2004

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

2005

The Executive MBA launches in Phoenix.

2010

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

2011

The Center for Leadership Ethics is launched.

2017

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

2018

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


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 91. 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.