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:
The Eller College of Management will be a top 10 public business school and a leader in digital business and the innovation economy.
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
We are honest, respectful and just. We act ethically and don't take shortcuts. We do the right thing 100 percent of the time.
We are curious, constantly looking for new and better solutions.
We surpass ordinary standards in learning, teaching, research, career preparation and personal engagement.
We are determined and scrappy, tenacious and full of grit. We see our challenges as opportunities for growth.
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.
The University of Arizona establishes a bachelor of science in commerce… and six years later, a master of arts in economics.
W.T. McClelland starts New Modern Dairy with 20 cows and a Model T. The venture is later renamed Shamrock Dairy.
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.)
The School takes up residence in North Hall.
Karl Eller enlists in the U.S. Army.
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.
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.
Karl Eller and Joan Stevens graduate and marry.
The MBA degree starts.
The Department of Accounting is established.
The first PhD program is offered.
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.
The College’s 70-member National Board of Advisors is formed.
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.
Professor Vernon Smith establishes the field of economic sciences and in 2002 wins the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences his work.
The Eller College establishes the Center for Management Information (CMI) with a $2 million grant from IBM.
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
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.
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 is inducted into the American Advertising Hall of Fame.
The Executive MBA launches in Phoenix.
The Center for Leadership Ethics is launched.
Eller’s first micro-campus is started in Cambodia.
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.