Jim and Delrose Eigel to receive Founder's Day award

Couple helped establish Xavier as a force in regional community engagement | September 25, 2007

Jim Eigel worked four jobs and hitchhiked back and forth from Reading while attending Xavier University in the 1950s. He earned his degree in economics in 1956 and now, 51 years later, he and his wife of 51 years were honored by Xavier as modern-day founders of the University. Click here to view images from the event.

Jim and Delrose Eigel are were honored Thursday, Sept. 27, at Xavier’s 30th annual Founder’s Day dinner. Founder’s Day honors individuals whose outstanding contributions to the University help Xavier better serve students and society.

When civil unrest in 2001 brought racial and economic disparity issues to the forefront in Cincinnati, Jim and Delrose Eigel say they felt compelled to get involved. As Jim puts it, “When you read the papers and you watch the news and you see these type things, you’re like, what can I do? What can one person do that would make a difference?”

He found his answer at his alma mater, funding a position that helped make Xavier’s Community Building Institute a premier player in community revitalization. More recently, the Eigels have stepped forward with a commitment to establish the James C. and Delrose M. Eigel Family Center for Community Engaged Learning.

“The Eigels’ gift has been able to seed a number of initiatives around the University,” says Byron White, associate vice president for community engagement. “Today we have dozens of faculty and students involved, particularly in the communities right around us in Norwood and Evanston, in a host of initiatives that didn’t exist five years ago. Faculty from history to psychology, from marketing to occupational therapy to art are all involved, engaged, partnering with residents and community organizations to enrich the communities around us and to enhance learning and development among our students.”

Eigel worked for Procter & Gamble and the St. Regis Paper Co. before starting Viking Resources Corp., a crude oil and natural gas production company, in 1970. He served as Viking’s president and CEO until his retirement in 1999.

The Eigels are both natives of Reading and live in East Walnut Hills. They have five children and seven grandchildren. In addition to Xavier, they are active with Corryville Catholic Elementary School, Ursuline Academy and St. Xavier High School.