The dream of a humble man is leveraged to serve the world of family business.
On October 22, 1999, OSU President Paul Risser announced the establishment of the A. E. Coleman Chair in Family Business. The gift, from sons Dick, Jim and John Coleman and their families, was presented in recognition of their father's unrelenting drive, determination, courage and integrity, which were exemplified during his lifetime and were the foundations of his success in business. The A. E. Coleman Chair in Family Business, honoring the memory of Mr. Coleman, will assure sustained entrepreneurial leadership for the Austin Family Business Program.
Dr. Patricia A. Frishkoff was named as inaugural chairholder. Pat was instrumental in launching OSU's family business program and served as the Director from 1985 until 2002. Dr. Frishkoff was responsible for the breadth of services that OSU offered to business owners and their families, and for raising the matching funds. In accepting the chair, she vowed to consider the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Mr. Coleman as benchmarks.
During a formal gathering at the home of President and Mrs. Risser, eldest son Dick Coleman speculated on what his father might think about the event: "Dad's up there and smiling down on us, and I think I might know what Dad is thinking right now. We have to turn the clock back twenty or thirty years in terms of the words he used instead of 'handicapped,' but I think he would have said: 'I can't believe that we are here with the president of the university and all of those college graduates to honor me, who is a crippled jeweler with only an 8th grade education.' I think he would see the irony in that, and Mother would, too, because we see two dreams happening here tonight. His first dream was to have the biggest and best jewelry store in Corvallis. The first dream made the second dream possible. It was to put his three boys through college. He wanted to provide them with the chance that he didn't have, not that he didn't have the ability, but he didn't have the opportunity." In thanking the Coleman family for the gift, President Risser noted, "This gives the program the potential to become one of the leading resources in the world for helping family businesses."
Richard A. Coleman began his business studies at OSU, then received a degree from the University of Oregon in 1955. After successful careers in personnel and medical sales, he launched a third career, teaching children with learning disabilities. He and his wife, Edy, of Dublin, California, have five children.
James E. Coleman attended the College of Business at OSU for two years and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1958. Co-president of E. & J. Gallo Winery, he has been with the company for 40? years, helping the family-owned business become the largest winery in the world. He and his wife, Sue, of Modesto, California, have eight children.
John N. Coleman (1940 - 2016) earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from OSU in 1964. After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps, he returned to the family jewelry business and also became a successful viticulturist, growing award-winning chardonnay grapes near Corvallis. John was an important member of the Corvallis community, serving on boards of several business associations and active in St. Mary's Church.