University honors alumnus at commencement

James C. Eigel to be presented with Distinguished Alumnus Award for achievements, dedication to education | May 4, 2004

On Saturday, May 15, the University celebrates the 2004 commencement exercises for graduate and undergraduate students. During commencement, the University traditionally presents citations, awards and honorary degrees to notable individuals who have made certain contributions to Xavier or the greater society. One of those being honored this year is James C. Eigel, who will be presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Throughout his life, James C. Eigel has been a steadfast believer in the immense value of education in general—and Jesuit education in particular. As a young man, that belief led him to finance his own education by working his way through Xavier. Later, as he carried his career to greater and greater levels of success, that belief manifested itself in his generous desire and willingness to make sure that others could receive the benefits of an education as well.

A Cincinnati native, Eigel received his BSBA in economics from the University in 1956 and began his professional career in sales later that year at Procter & Gamble Co. In 1960 he moved to the St. Regis Paper Co., again working in sales. In 1967 he founded his own company, Viking Resources Corp., a crude oil and natural gas production company. He served as Viking’s CEO until his retirement in 1999.

Eigel’s belief in education has in part contributed to his deep passion for making Cincinnati a better place and for helping inner-city children improve their lives. He has been involved with the Catholic Inner-City Schools Education Fund focusing his energy on Corryville Catholic Elementary School, where he serves on the development board. But Eigel’s dedication extends far beyond the inner city. He served on the board of trustees of St. Xavier High School from 1980 to 1988, is a member of the Friends of Ursuline Academy and serves on the development board for the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Eigel has been a tireless supporter of the University as well. Along with Delrose, his wife of 48 years, he established the James C. and Delrose M. Eigel Scholarship at the University in 1997. His gifts also have helped make possible the establishment of the University’s Community Building Collaborative.

An avid golfer and sports fan, Eigel is a longtime supporter of the Musketeer men’s basketball teams. In 1984 he stepped into the sport of kings when he became the owner of Rosemont Farms in Lexington, Ky. There, he’s involved in breeding and racing thoroughbred horses.

A devoted family man, Eigel has five children and seven grandchildren who know him not only for his dedication and strong values, but for his warm smile and quick sense of humor as well.

In recognition of his professional achievements, his generous spirit and his love of education, Xavier University is proud to present James C. Eigel with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.