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Remembering George Spaulding

On May 22, 2015, the School of Business lost a trusted mentor and advisor, community member, and – most importantly – a great friend.  George G. Spaulding passed away at the age of 95.

A champion of the School of Business, Spaulding contributed much of his time to the College over the course of nearly three decades. He was an accomplished businessman, entrepreneur, professor, writer and philanthropist.

Spaulding was born and raised in Flint Michigan in 1920. After graduating with a degree in business administration, he served in the Navy in both the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II and, after an honorable discharge, returned home to Michigan.  

There, he joined the automotive industry at General Motors and his career took off.  During his 35-year tenure, Spaulding was appointed vice president and director of marketing and sales for all global areas outside the U.S. and Canada.

When retirement called, Spaulding and his wife Dorie moved to Kiawah Island, S.C.  The two befriended John Kresse, former head coach of the College of Charleston men’s basketball team, and his wife Sue Sommer-Kresse, who connected them with Howard Rudd, founding dean of the School of Business. A lasting friendship was made, and the Spauldings began to make their impact on the School.

“George and Dorie brought with them charm, class, wisdom, a wealth of work and moxie, and always a new wrinkle and a new idea for continuous improvement as to how we could better serve our students and the College,” said Rudd.

Spaulding became the first executive in residence at the newly created School of Business.  For nearly 15 years, Spaulding taught Introduction to Business and Real World 101, giving students concrete lessons, ranging from the different types of business ownership, stocks and bonds to the Federal Reserve System.

“I cannot state strongly enough the impact George had on my education and business career, especially the appetite to invest abroad,” said R. Keith Sauls ‘90, School of Business Board of Governors member and a recognized expert in alternative investments. “I would never be buying companies domestic or otherwise if not for the very large world George opened my eyes to in 1988 in his Intro to Business class.”

In 1999, the College of Charleston presented Spaulding with an honorary doctorate of human letters degree.

He co-founded the Board of Governors at the School of Business in 1992 and was instrumental in pushing its initiatives forward during the School’s infancy. 

In addition, Spaulding developed a guest speaker program, bringing top corporate CEOs and executives to share their professional success stories and case histories with business students. The George Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series roster has included executives from NBC, General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, S.C. elected officials, Avon, Vera Bradley, Trader Joes, and others. The series is continuing in his honor, with the next event slated for the fall featuring William E. Kennard, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union and former Chairman of the FCC.

In 2011, Spaulding and his wife were inducted onto the Wall of Honor in recognition of their philanthropic contributions and commitment to the School of Business.  Tommy and Victoria Baker and Guy and Betty Beatty were also recognized at the inaugural ceremony.

"George has been an integral part of the business school for decades," said Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business. "When I became dean in 2009, George played a prominent role in welcoming me to the community and introducing me to important business leaders that would eventually help to shape my advisory board. What I quickly learned was that, while I may be the dean of the business school, George was one of the people who was really making things happen around here. I will miss his friendship and steady presence at the School of Business."

Spaulding’s personal motto, “Enthusiasm: Never leave home without it,” exemplifies the passion and dedication he devoted to the School, helping to make it what it is today. He left behind an incredible legacy that will never be forgotten.

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