Charles Henry Lundquist (August 1920–November 2006) was a 1942 graduate of the University of Oregon's College of Business, where he majored in accounting. His successful business career and the company he led since 1963 are models for business students everywhere. And his passion for business and entrepreneurship continues to serve as an inspiration to our students, faculty, and alumni.
Lundquist always believed that education was the foundation on which all future growth was based, and his involvement and dedication helped evolve the college's vision of becoming internationally renowned for excellence in business education and research by drawing on the distinctive qualities of Oregon culture and the innovative and entrepreneurial nature of Oregon business. Until his death in 2006, he was a benefactor to the college, as well as a counselor and friend of our deans and students.
Lundquist was a native of Portland, Oregon. While a student at the University of Oregon, he was president of the Oregon chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting fraternity. He was named the Outstanding Graduate in Accounting by the Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Accountants, and he passed the 1942 National CPA Examination with the second highest score in the United States. Lundquist was subsequently awarded a National Service Scholarship to the Harvard Graduate School of Business, where he earned his MBA degree with distinction in 1946.
In addition to his accounting acumen, he had a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. His first entrepreneurial venture was the purchase of a small fine-china manufacturing company in 1949. After turning the business around, he sold it at a substantial profit and joined United States Steel Corporation as a financial officer in California. After five years, the entrepreneurial bug again bit Lundquist, and he organized a small investment group of friends that acquired and founded several small companies. These firms were involved in such activities as aerospace, commercial development, and shopping center and hotel industries. They were the basis for what eventually became Continental Development Corporation. Lundquist was actively involved in running the firm as president and chairman since its founding. His son Richard is now president.
In 1989, Lundquist funded an endowment to create the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon's College of Business. In 1993, he enhanced that initial investment by establishing one of the first multimillion-dollar endowments to the University of Oregon. In recognition of his generosity and commitment to advancing education, the college at that time was renamed in honor of Lundquist.
In 1994, the University of Oregon awarded its highest honor, the Presidential Medal, to Lundquist for his leadership, vision, and service to the university. His words of advice to the MBA students at the event were remarkably down to earth: "No matter what you do in business, make sure you do what you like and you will be successful. Don't ever lose sight of what's important."
To this day, Lundquist's dedication and vision for the college continue to impact how we teach relative to the career opportunities and business climate of Oregon and the Northwest. He helped focus our educational efforts on entrepreneurial and evolving businesses, on the conditions necessary to keep companies competitive, on experiential education, and on providing an individualized education that is always focused on the students.