Frank E. Eck, a University of Notre Dame alumnus, benefactor and advisor, died today (Dec. 13) in Columbus, Ohio, of complications from open heart surgery. He was 84.
“Frank was a tremendously generous man – with his time, counsel and resources – and we join with his family and many friends in mourning his death,said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dames president.Franks wonderful spirit, wide smile and boundless enthusiasm will be missed.
A 1944 graduate of Notre Dame, Eck was chairman of Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) of Columbus. He earned his bachelors degree in chemical engineering and had served on the College of Engineering Advisory Council since 1984.
After serving in the U.S. Navy in the latter stages of World War II, Eck attended Harvard Business School and earned a masters of business administration degree in 1949. He worked for more than 20 years in the petrochemical industry, then joined ADS in 1973 as vice president for sales and marketing. He soon was appointed president of the firm and took it from a small regional manufacturer serving the agriculture market to the worlds largest producer of plastic drainage pipe used primarily in the civil engineering industry.
Ecks contributions to Notre Dame have totaled more than $35 million. The most recent, a $21 million gift in 2005, is underwriting the current construction of the Eck Hall of Law, which includes a second building for the Notre Dame Law School and a multipurpose facility in a neo-Gothic archway that will link the new structure to the existing building. The gift was the fifth largest in Notre Dames history, the largest ever to the Law School, and one of the largest in the history of American legal education.
Ecks previous benefactions to Notre Dame endowed a library collection in chemical engineering and underwrote construction of the Eck Tennis Pavilion in 1987, Frank Eck Baseball Stadium in 1994, and the Eck Center, which includes the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, visitorscenter and Alumni Association headquarters, in 1999.
A longtime supporter of the Irish football, baseball and tennis programs, Eck was made an honorary member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club in 1988.
Eck is survived by four children: Candy, Kelly, Frank Jr. and Daniel.
A wake is scheduled for Sunday (Dec. 16) from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Schoedinger Funeral Home in Columbus, Ohio, 43221. A funeral Mass will be said Monday (Dec. 17) at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Upper Arlington, Ohio.