Karl was an alumnus, advocate and supporter of national stature. His decades of leadership and philanthropy transformed the university and inspired our community.
Karl’s connection to the university was deeply personal, and his dedication to providing opportunity to students guided his family’s giving. He wondered how his own education could have benefited by a business entrepreneurship program, and then sought to make this opportunity possible for future students. Arizona is proud to carry on his legacy through our students in the college that bears his name and programs throughout our campus for generations to come.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my years of working with Karl, it’s that the goal of his philanthropy has always been to give students the same opportunities he had,” said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation.
“Growing up on Sixth Street, he looked across the street to Arizona Stadium and the University of Arizona and saw it as his gateway to the world. He knew that if he just got his education, he could make a better life for himself. So many times, we’d be driving to games and he would say to me, ‘Look at all these kids, JP. They have the whole world in front of them.’”
Over the decades, Karl and his wife, Stevie, have contributed millions of dollars to the university to found the entrepreneurship program, name the business school and dance theatre and support student career development as well as teaching and research related to the free market economy. He served on the University of Arizona Foundation board of trustees for decades as well as the Eller College National Board of Advisors, a role in which he leveraged his corporate connections to benefit the college.
“What an honor it was to know Karl Eller. He used his education, intelligence and deep commitment to integrity to achieve the highest levels of success, while always keeping a little bit of Tucson ruggedness and authenticity,” said Paulo Goes, dean of the Eller College of Management.
“An extraordinary friend and benefactor, he is a role model for tens of thousands of students and hundreds of faculty and staff, who will forever have their names associated with Eller. Karl’s legacy will live on through them.”