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Admin Star: Donald R. Beall

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What Donald Beall learned in his early years relates directly to his professional success. Neither of his parents went to college, and it was a difficult struggle to raise money to develop an oil distribution business by working at Ward's and J.C. Penney. He grew up in Crescent City, California, near the Oregon border, where he worked in the local lumber industry as well as in his father's business.

Teachers pushed Donald to pursue college, so he attended San Jose State, an institution known to offer fine education to young people, mostly those with limited resources. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in metallurgical engineering in 1960. Early in his career, one of his professors recommended him to go for an accelerated MBA program at the University of Pittsburg which put him on his way to business management quite early. In 1961, he earned his MBA with honors from Pittsburgh University.

His business acumen and technical expertise combined for his professional success. Developing people to reach their full potential was his greatest career achievement. In today's dynamic world, developing people is key in the 21st century.

Mr. Beall, 69, was the company director from 2001 and also acted as a nominal board chairman from June 2001 till the summer of 2002. Beall now serves as an executive committee head as well as an invaluable member on the Committee on Technology. Beall is now retired from his position at the helm of Rockwell. Mr. Beall had served as both Chairman and CEO from 1988 till early 1998, and had been president from 1979 to 1988. Now Mr. Beall sits on various boards, including those of Conexant, Realty and MindSpeed. Previously, he was a Jazz Semiconductor Director and ArvinMerito. He has several memberships within the various departments at the University of California, Irvine, and supporting organizations. He also oversees Stanford's Hoover Institute, and has acted as trustee at CIT in California. As professor, he is attached to the advisory board at the faculty of engineering at San Jose State University, in addition to being a senior trustee at the U.S. Navy Graduate School Foundation, and President's circle member. Being an investor himself, he serves as an advisor to many private companies and investment partnerships.

Mr. Donald Beall is a real achiever and a giver. His business acumen, combined with his technological expertise, make him a very prudent and smart entrepreneur. Mr. Beall runs the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Paul Mirage School of Business under the University of California. This donation is meant to launch new programs at the center while expanding the existing ones. The center is named after him in recognition of his endeavor to develop others to reach their full potential. This was his dream during his college days, and true to his dream he still lives it in his retirement age. Helping other people, regardless of their backgrounds, reach their full potential is what catalyzes economic growth. This was his greatest accomplishment during his career. Through his initiative, the center wants to promote and expand innovation. This is what the 21st century needs in order to strengthen economic growth. Innovation based on competitive trends is what propelled Rockwell to greater heights, and Mr. Beall was at the helm. This is now a case study he wants to replicate, so that through him others may also achieve and break new barriers in all circles of life through innovation.

After a 30-year successful career at Rockwell, Mr. Beall retired. His success at the company turned him into a renowned world leader in the fields of aerospace and electronics as well as in automotive markets the world over. For any country to be stronger economically, Beall believes innovation and entrepreneurial progress through higher education is the key.

Beall wants to turn the Innovation Center into a launching point for research and management science. His goal is for the Center to become the biggest force for strategic innovation and provide quality education and opportunities for research so that the innovation process is fully understood at the highest level of learning. Students will then put this learning to maximum use and make this world a better place. Some of the programs at the Beall Center include ''The Art and Science of Innovation.'' Beall would like to see an entrepreneurial association formed through the organization's student body. He also wants to encourage student participation in venture capital investment competitions in a campus-wide program and to expand startup companies.

The Paul Merage School of Business, where Beall started the Innovation Center, offers four MBA programs, sustainable growth through strategic innovation theoretically as well as on-site experiences with real world business issues, and six centers of excellence and executive programs to promote both the students' and graduates' opportunities for independence and updates to their respective expertise. In 2006, the school was ranked number six in the field of information and technology by the Wall Street Journal. That same year the school was ranked first in South Carolina in the executive MBA program.

The demanding economy has made the top recruiters come looking for the top MBA talent on campus. Therefore, most of the students that pass through the programs are likely to find the best companies looking for them even before they complete their educational programs.

As a way to prove his theory, Beall has offered his expertise free of charge to the Merage School, the Beall Center of Art and Technology within the Claire Trevor School of Arts, and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, for which Beall is a former Trustee.

Donald R. Beall can be said to have had the most celebrated grass-to-grace story in the recent history of academics in the United States.
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