March 28, 2023

In Remembrance: David Myers’49, champion of entrepreneurship

Beloit College lost a spirited and generous friend when David Miles Myers’49 died Sept. 19, 2022, in Denver. He was 95.

David Myers'49 David Myers’49
Credit: Carl Bower
A lifelong entrepreneur, Myers had the first taste of being his own boss in the 1940s, playing the piano with dance bands to earn money. After Beloit, he earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, which further cemented his resolve to work for himself. His successful business career was wide-ranging and included investing in real estate and small businesses, turning around struggling companies, and creating and nurturing startups.

In the early 1980s, he and his father contacted Beloit College, expressing a desire to support the teaching of future entrepreneurs, then a radical idea for a liberal arts college. That was the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership with the college and with Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship Jerry Gustafson’63. Myers was instrumental in establishing, expanding, and improving the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB). He was the program’s major financial supporter and its unbridled champion.

“David was a great story teller and students loved him for it,” says Gustafson, who regularly invited Myers to speak in his courses. “He would lay out his career that lurched improbably from Harvard to a tiny AM radio station to the West Coast and more radio interspersed with travel agency trips to Hong Kong, women’s swimwear, real estate, Muzak, and even a fling with frozen yogurt,” says Gustafson. “Students would ask, ‘How do you account for your great success?’ He would say, seriously, ‘excellent planning.’”

Myers and Anne, his wife of 70 years, loved Beloit. They had many friends on campus and visited often, including the weekend before he died unexpectedly.
In 2004, he received the Distinguished Service Citation, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association. In 2017, David and Anne together received Beloit’s D.K. Pearsons Award for their extraordinary philanthropy.

In 2013, Myers appeared on this magazine’s cover, wearing one of his trademark bowties. In a story about a group of older alumni who remained productive over long lives, Myers said the word “retirement” had never entered his vocabulary. “I enjoy working and using my mind,” he said. “I enjoy trying to solve the problems of the day.”

Myers was part of a four-generation alumni family. Among survivors are his wife, Anne, five children, including Elizabeth’75 and David Jr.’77, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his mother, Elizabeth Miles Myers (1925) and his father, Norval Myers (1924).

The family is directing memorial gifts to the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit. 


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