USC Trustee Gordon Marshall, who founded electronics giant Marshall Industries and bestowed millions of dollars on USC, where the business school is named after him, has died. He was 95.
Marshall died at his home in Pasadena Wednesday, according to an obituary released by USC.
“Gordon Marshall was a soft-spoken man with a powerful entrepreneurial spirit and a profound dedication to the University of Southern California,” said USC president C. L. Max Nikias. “His commitment to USC spanned seven decades, and his extraordinary philanthropy gave a dramatic boost to business education at this university.
“He was a true treasure, and we will always be grateful for the gifts he gave of his time and his leadership to USC.”
Marshall was a Southern California native who was raised in South Pasadena and served as a B-24 bomber pilot during World War II, then enrolled at USC, graduating with a degree in accounting in 1946 from what was then USC’s College of Commerce.
Having been a ham radio operator as a teenager, Marshall founded Marshall Industries in 1953 and dedicated the rest of his career to the electronics industry.
Based in El Monte, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1959 and eventually became one of the five largest U.S. distributors of industrial electronic components, with offices in 38 North American cities. In 1999, the company was purchased by Avnet Inc. in a multimillion-dollar deal.
Marshall maintained strong ties to his alma mater throughout his career, serving in various positions, including the USC Board of Trustees, and was active in several of the business school’s programs.
In 1996, Marshall pledged $35 million to the school, which was named the USC Gordon S. Marshall School of Business in his honor. At the time, his gift was the largest endowment ever made to a business school, and the second largest in USC’s history.
In 2005, Marshall received the Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the USC Alumni Association. His name is commemorated at the university not only through the business school but also with the Gordon S. Marshall Chair in Engineering, the Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair, and the Gordon S. Marshall Professorship in Engineering Technology at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
Preceded in death by his wife, Lynne, Marshall is survived by six children, 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. A campus service celebrating his life will be held in the fall, USC said.
“Gordon Marshall was an inspiration, both to the USC community and to me personally,” said USC Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis. “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.”
—City News Service
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