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Business leader honored for decades of entrepreneurial success

Saturday, December 10, 2011
Business leader honored for decades of entrepreneurial success

Oakland University plans to recognize an exemplary leader, philanthropist and honorary alumnus who over three decades has guided the small business he founded to its current status as a tier one supplier to the automotive, aerospace, solar, appliance and military manufacturing industries across the globe.


The School of Business Administration will present Hugh Elliott, CEO of Elliott Group International, an honorary doctorate of science at its commencement ceremony Dec. 17. The gesture pays tribute to the incredible entrepreneurial success Elliott has seen, all while emphasizing quality, integrity, social responsibility, and global and cultural diversity in the corporate climate.


A nomination form submitted on his behalf proclaims, “This is an individual who honed his leadership skills through a respected service record in Vietnam, where honor, loyalty and willingness to care for one’s fellow man weren’t platitudes given in a speech, but the difference between life and death for soldiers in the 2nd Infantry.”


That same sense of dedication is evident in a progressive and effective business management style that emphasizes success with a personal touch.


“You cannot always cut costs to make a profit,” Elliott explained. “You also must focus on growing people. I'd rather have the profits going to my employees’ salaries and bonuses so they can take care of their families.”


A manufacturer of adhesive products used for a variety of manufacturing purposes, Elliott Group International maintains product quality that is consistently used as a benchmark by competitors. The company’s revenue is estimated at $972 million in sales since its inception.


While seeking to continually advance product quality and innovation, Elliott has enlisted university researchers in partnerships that also provide unique educational opportunities for students.


"Turning out good business students who can successfully lead in today’s global environment isn’t an option, but imperative," he said. “The only way the U.S. – Michigan – will be able to stay competitive in the global workplace is to make students realize the importance of education in a culturally diverse environment. We have to start seeing how jobs and communities need to be built together.”


Working toward that goal, Elliott made a significant gift to Oakland’s School of Business Administration and Information Technology building, which bears his and his wife's, Nancy, names. He also has made a number of contributions to university athletics programs, academic scholarships and endowments.


“We strive to provide students with the knowledge, skills and globally minded perspectives they’ll need to lead a constantly evolving business world, and critical to this process is fostering mutually enriching partnerships with business and industry leaders,” said SBA Dean Mohan Tanniru.


“In every sense of this mission, Hugh Elliott exemplifies the pinnacle of what future business leaders can hope to achieve. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of an honor we present to individuals whose careers represent the most telling case studies in business success.”


Not surprisingly, given his extensive level of community and university involvement, Elliott has won a number of recognitions prior to his nomination for the honorary doctorate degree. These include being named as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Michigan, winning the Gary D. Russi Community Service Award, induction in the OU Athletics Hall of Fame and being named an OU Honorary Alumnus. He also was bestowed the honor of "des Chevaliers du Testevin" by the French Government in 1995.