Officials from BYU’s Marriott School of Business announce the naming of the Global Business Center for former Eastman Kodak Company CEO.
The late Kay Whitmore, who worked for Kodak for 36 years and led the company for three, was known for his business acumen and integrity. He was supported in his rise to CEO by his wife of 48 years, Yvonne. A generous gift to the Marriott School from Yvonne and their children will honor his legacy by helping to train future leaders.
The Global Business Center, one of the nation’s 30 Centers for International Business Education and Research, works to prepare students with the necessary skills to compete in a global marketplace. Director Brooke Derr says the couple’s goals of honest hard-work and fostering an international community are in harmony with the mission of the center.
“The Whitmores are recognized as outstanding ethical, global leaders,” Derr says. “We are proud to become the Kay and Yvonne Whitmore Global Business Center. Our goal at the Marriott School is to develop similar leadership qualities in our students.”
Kay Whitmore died of leukemia in 2004 at age 72. Aside from managing the multibillion dollar corporation, Whitmore’s commitment to his beliefs expanded his leadership opportunities. Lay assignments within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints included president of the London South Mission, stake president in the Rochester-Palmyra stake and an 18-month mission to San Diego — where he and Yvonne worked with college students.
Marriott School administrators acknowledge Whitmore’s contributions to the school and interest in the success and professional lives of BYU graduates. “We are blessed to have such generous friends who believe in and whole-heartedly support our mission,” says Ned Hill, Marriott School dean. “The endowment created by the Whitmore family will enable the center and the Marriott School to further expand our international reach and reputation.”
The center adds a strong international component to the Marriott School. Seventy-six languages are spoken on campus and nearly 80 percent of BYU students are bilingual. The center leverages this unique capability by sponsoring high-proficiency business language courses in 11 languages — more than any other school.
“Many students know how to speak a second or third language fluently but often lack strong skills in foreign corporate culture and vocabulary,” says Cynthia Halliday, managing director of the center. “It’s important for students to learn about international business from a knowledgeable professor. We also help students become more internationally oriented by sponsoring global consulting projects, lectures, and student competitions.”
It’s the students’ potential to make a difference internationally that Whitmore believed in and enthusiastically supported. “Kay Whitmore was effective in promoting values that lead to success, both in business and in life,” Hill says. “His example and legacy as a leader will inspire students for many years to come.”