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MBA program named after late Patrick S. Parker

Lake Erie College officials announced today that its master of business administration program will be named The Parker MBA in memory of Patrick S. Parker, chairman emeritus of Parker Hannifin Corporation, who died in 2005.

“We are honored that Mrs. Madeleine Parker has given us permission to associate her late husband’s identity with one of our hallmark programs,” said President Michael T. Victor. “Mr. Parker was a global industrialist who believed in innovation, employee empowerment, continuous improvement and entrepreneurship.” 

“Pat and Parker Hannifin Corporation have been very good friends over the years. Scores of Parker employees have graduated from Lake Erie College. Parker was the first company to conduct our MBA classes in the workplace. Because of this, we have been able to deliver on-site classes at University Health Systems and FirstEnergy as well.  Patrick Parker’s time-tested management philosophies and principles worked.  It is fitting to honor a local individual who led his company to become a global stalwart and a major employer in the region,” said Victor.

The Lake Erie College Master of Business Administration program is among the fastest-growing and most highly regarded programs in the State of Ohio. It was established in 1981 and has since graduated over 1,200 business and non-profit leaders.  There are a variety of options available to students including a traditional program, Saturday classes and a FasTrac option which can be completed in eleven months. For more information, individuals may go to or call 1-800-916-0904.

Under Pat Parker's direction, Parker Hannifin, which was founded by his father in 1918, grew substantially in size, global reach and product breadth. From the '60s through the '90s, Pat Parker guided the company's expansion into a wide array of hydraulic, pneumatic and electromechanical products solidifying its position as the global leader in motion and control technologies.  The firm had annual sales of $160 million in 1968 when Parker was named president.  Today, annual sales exceed $10 billion and the company was ranked #221 among the 2009 Fortune 500 companies.

"Pat, to everyone who ever met him, was a man of influence, integrity and warmth with a life-long enthusiasm for innovators and their inventions," said Don Washkewicz, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Parker Hannifin. "His drive to grow the company was rooted in his desire to serve customers better, whether through globalization or a business model that places decisions close to customers, or internal product innovation, or acquisition. He made it a regular habit to talk with employees on the factory floor to get their ideas on how to improve the business. Pat touched the lives of many throughout the company and within the community."
Born in Cleveland on October 16, 1929, the son of Arthur L. and Helen (Fitzgerald) Parker, Pat claimed in later years to have learned all that was necessary for success in the sandbox of his elementary school on the East side. The "sandbox rules," as he called them, included notions of fair play, leadership among peers and honesty that became the fabric of his life and of the organization he eventually led. 

Parker received a B.A. degree from Williams College and an MBA degree from the Harvard School of Business.  Parker's working career, with the exception of serving three years as a Naval officer, was spent at the company. He joined the board of directors in 1960.  He was elected president in 1968 and served as chief executive officer from 1971 through 1983. He was named chairman in 1977, a position he retired from in 1999. 

His legacy of an entrepreneurial spirit, inquisitive mind, ethic of hard work and ability to embrace fun extends beyond the brick and mortar of a modern corporation and is embedded in the company culture to inspire the company's more than 50,000 employees to believe they can make anything possible.

In addition to his business acumen, Parker was an avid skier and sailor who was instrumental in outfitting America's Cup yachts with Parker Hannifin hydraulics.  Known for his philanthropy and pursuit of fun, he was enlisted to don a leather outfit and ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on stage during a Cleveland Ballet performance of “Blue Suede Shoes,” a ballet depicting Elvis Presley's career.

Visitors to the corporate headquarters are enthralled by Parker's former office, decorated like a ship's captain's quarters complete with oak planks cut in the 1690s for the British navy, but never used until they adorned the office’s slanting walls to suggest the inside of a hull. In a Wall Street Journal feature on unique offices, Parker said he chose the theme because he viewed both business and life as a voyage.

An influential figure in Cleveland, Parker served on the boards of Case Western Reserve University, University School, the Musical Arts Association, Playhouse Square Foundation and Ohio Aerospace Institute.  He was the first chairman of the board of trustees of Gateway Economic Development Corporation, a $425 million project which led to the development of Jacob's Field and Gund Arena.  Parker was also a member of the boards of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Western Reserve Historical Society, Woodruff Hospital, College of Wooster, Kolff Foundation, Reliance Electric Company, Acme-Cleveland, Society National Bank and Society Corporation and Sherwin-Williams Company. 

Lake Erie College, located in Painesville, Ohio, currently serves more than 1,200 students. Founded in 1856, Lake Erie is an independent, liberal arts institution that challenges its students to "get in and stand out" in academics, athletics and student activities. The College offers 35 undergraduate and graduate programs and the option to design an individualized major to fit career and academic goals. Lake Erie's innovative learning experiences focus on helping students to meet career and life challenges, preparing for a world that is increasingly interdependent.


Note: This is a news archive and may contain outdated information.


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