Alum­nus en­dowed USC School of Busi­ness

GOR­DON S. MAR­SHALL, 1919 - 2015

Los Angeles Times - - OBITUARIES - By Carla Rivera carla.rivera@la­

En­tre­pre­neur and USC trustee Gor­don S. Mar­shall, who made a for­tune dis­tribut­ing elec­tron­ics com­po­nents and be­stowed mil­lions of dol­lars on his alma mater, has died. He was 95.

Mar­shall died Tues­day of nat­u­ral causes at his home in Pasadena, USC of­fi­cials said.

Mar­shall was one of the long­est-serv­ing trus­tees in USC’s his­tory, hav­ing joined the board in 1968, and served as chair­man, sec­re­tary and in var­i­ous other ca­pac­i­ties. He made na­tional news in 1996, when he do­nated $35 mil­lion to the univer­sity’s busi­ness school, at the time the sec­ond-largest gift in USC’s his­tory. The Gor­don S. Mar­shall School of Busi­ness was named in his honor.

At the busi­ness school, he lec­tured in sev­eral cour­ses and served as ex­ec­u­tive-in-res­i­dence. He re­ceived sev­eral alumni awards for ex­cel­lence, in­clud­ing the alumni as­so­ci­a­tion’s high­est honor, the Asa V. Call Alumni Achieve­ment Award, in 2005.

Mar­shall’s de­vo­tion to the cam­pus ex­tended to the Tro­jans foot­ball team, and he was said to never miss a game.

“Gor­don Mar­shall was a soft-spo­ken man with a pow­er­ful en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and a pro­found ded­i­ca­tion to the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia,” USC Pres­i­dent C.L. Max Nikias said.

Mar­shall was born Nov. 17, 1919, and grew up in South Pasadena. He was a B-24 bomber pi­lot dur­ing World War II and grad­u­ated from USC with a de­gree in ac­count­ing in 1946.

He founded Mar­shall In­dus­tries in 1953, act­ing out of a love of elec­tron­ics gained as a teenage ham ra­dio op­er­a­tor. The com­pany, based in El Monte, was listed on the New York Stock Ex­change in 1959 and grew to be­come one of the na­tion’s five largest distrib­u­tors of elec­tron­ics com­po­nents. The com­pany was pur­chased by Avnet Inc. in 1999.

In a 1997 in­ter­view with The Times, Mar­shall said he never took his suc­cess for granted.

“I was down to my last few thou­sand dol­lars I had saved from the Air Corps,” he said. “I started with noth­ing and was lucky and worked hard and was at the right place at the right time.”

Then-USC Pres­i­dent Steven B. Sam­ple had ap­proached Mar­shall be­fore for a large gift, and one day Mar­shall de­cided it was time.

“When you get to my age, and you are slow­ing down and on the down­side of the curve, you look around and say, ‘ What can I do that’s worth­while?’ ” Mar­shall told The Times.

“Hav­ing been as­so­ci­ated with the univer­sity for all of these years ... I said: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to maybe give some money to the school?’ I’m happy, proud, pleased and grate­ful that I can do it.”

Be­sides the busi­ness school, Mar­shall’s name is at­tached to the Gor­don S. Mar­shall Chair in En­gi­neer- ing, the Gor­don S. Mar­shall Early Ca­reer Chair and the Gor­don S. Mar­shall Pro­fes­sor­ship in En­gi­neer­ing Tech­nol­ogy. Mar­shall was a founder of the Los An­ge­les Mu­sic Cen­ter.

“Gor­don Mar­shall was an in­spi­ra­tion, both to the USC com­mu­nity and to me per­son­ally,” Mar­shall School of Busi­ness Dean James G. El­lis said. “His words of wis­dom served as a source of guid­ance and sup­port, and his tire­less ded­i­ca­tion helped forge a legacy of ex­cel­lence that con­tin­ues to set the stan­dard for U.S. busi­ness schools.”

Mar­shall was pre­ceded in death by his wife, Lynne, and is sur­vived by daugh­ters Ali­son, Karen and Va­lerie.



Gor­don Mar­shall grad­u­ated from USC in 1946 and made his for­tune in the elec­tron­ics in­dus­try.

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