Ewing Marion Kauffman
September 21, 1916
|Died||August 1, 1993 (aged 76)|
|Alma mater|| • Westport High School|
• Longview Community College
|Occupation||American pharmaceutical entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Major League Baseball team owner|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1942–1945|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Early life and education
Ewing Kauffmann was born on September 21, 1916, on a farm near Garden City, Missouri. He was the son of John S. Kauffman and Effie May Winders, who were German-Americans, When Kauffman was a child, his father was in a farming accident which left him blind in his right eye. Following the accident, his father relocated the family to Kansas City, where he worked as a life insurance salesman.
As a child, Kauffman loved reading. When he was 11, he had to leave school for a year, due to a heart valve that would not close completely. During this year, Kauffman taught himself how to speed read. It was not uncommon for him to read one to two books a day. In later years, Kauffman believes his success in the pharmaceutical business stemmed from his ability to read quickly. In 1928, when Kauffman was 12, his parents divorced. He lived with his mother, and his father remained active in his life. On days spent with his father, it was not uncommon for the two to compete in arithmetic competitions, the most common game being adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing the numbers on license plates.
Kauffman was an active youth who participated in various sports, and performed very well in school. He was also an Eagle Scout and later, in adulthood, was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
In 1947, Kauffman became a commissioned salesman for Lincoln Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company based in Decatur, Illinois. Kauffman earned a 20 percent commissions on his sales, and eventually earned more than the president of the company. Kauffman became angry with the company and left in 1950 after it decreased his sales territory and cut his commission.
After leaving Lincoln Laboratories, Kauffman formed Marion Laboratories with a $5,000 investment. The company was originally run out of his house, and there were four employees, consisting of Kauffman and his close friends. He reportedly chose to use his middle name, rather than his surname, in order to not appear to be a one-man operation.
With Kauffman as chairman, Marion Laboratories had revenues of $930 million in 1988, the year before it merged with Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals to form Marion Merrell Dow. Kauffman became chairman emeritus of the new company. The company sale created more than 300 millionaires.
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Kauffman established the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in the mid-1960s with the same sense of opportunity he brought to his business endeavors, and, with the same convictions. Kauffman wanted his foundation to be innovative – to fundamentally change people's lives. He wanted to help young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, get a quality education that would enable them to reach their full potential. He saw building enterprise as one of the most effective ways to realize individual promise and spur the economy. Today, the mission of the Kauffman Foundation follows his vision by focusing its grant making and operations on two areas: advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth.
Kansas City Royals
After thirteen years in Kansas City, the Athletics moved to Oakland following the 1967 season. Kauffman established the expansion Royals, bringing major league baseball back to the city in 1969. Shortly before his death, Kauffman set up an unprecedented complex succession plan to keep the team in Kansas City.
On November 8, 2007, he was nominated to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the 2008 class; but was not elected. He was later nominated and elected to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
In 1988, Kauffman launched Project Choice to the Westport High School Class of 1992. Project Choice promised to fund post-secondary education to all students who stayed in school, did not use drugs, did not become pregnant, and were committed to being an upstanding citizen in the community. To be eligible for the program, parents also had to agree to be involved in their child's education by attending meetings and participating in parent/teacher organizations and other activities. The program remained active until 2001. During those years, it expanded to five other high schools in the Kansas City metro area.
At a time when other cities were building cookie-cutter, multipurpose sports facilities Kauffman went against the trend to build a home for the team, Royals Stadium, that was decades ahead of its time. The stadium was the only baseball-only facility built in the major leagues between 1966 and 1991. Fans in one of the sport's smallest markets responded by filling the stadium, topping the two-million attendance mark a total of ten times and seven seasons in a row.
Designed by Kivett and Meyers architects in Kansas City, the stadium incorporated the best of the recently built Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium, with 40,793 seats, all facing second base and arranged in three tiers.
The stadium's prominent features include water fountains beyond the outfield fence and a ten-story-high scoreboard shaped like the Royals crest, topped by a gold crown. The 322-foot-wide (98 m) water spectacular is the largest privately funded fountain in the world. The stadium featured artificial turf for its first 22 seasons, which was replaced with natural grass in 1995.
Kauffman made his last public appearance at the stadium on May 23, 1993, when he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. Six weeks later on July 2, a month before his death, the twenty-year-old facility was officially renamed in his honor in a ceremony at the stadium; it is the only ballpark in the American League named in honor of a person.
Suffering from bone cancer, he died, age 76, at his home in Mission Hills, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. His remains are interred at the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden next to his wife's remains, who died in 1995.
Awards and honors
- 1932 – Distinguished Eagle Scout Award as a member of Boy Scout Troop and Ship 100 at Faxon School in Kansas City, Missouri
- 1968 – Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement
- 1993 – Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball, named after Ewing Kauffman
- 2018 – Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
- Pace, Eric (August 12, 1993). "Ewing M. Kauffman, 76, Owner of Kansas City Baseball Team". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "Royals owner Kauffmann stimulated by challenges". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. August 22, 1971. p. 16.
- "Ewing |1916–1945|". Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- Skodack, Debra; Crumpley, Charles R. T. (August 2, 1993). "Ewing M. Kauffman 1916–1993 Visionary 'Mr. K" is dead; Business success with Marion led to Royals baseball team and philanthropy". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved July 15, 2019.(subscription required)
- "Ewing". www.kauffman.org. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Scouting.org. Archived from the original (PDF format) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "Marion". www.kauffman.org. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
- The Philanthropy Roundtable, Ewing Kauffman
- "Executives, Managers, and Umpires to Be Considered for 2008" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. November 8, 2007. Archived from the original on November 15, 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Barber, Hayden (June 13, 2018). "Royals' Kauffman, Paul Pierce, Larry Drew among Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees". Kansas City Star. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Kauffman". www.kauffman.org. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- Thompson, Jadiann (April 28, 2015). "Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden says no more organized photos". KSHB TV 41. Archived from the original on August 27, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
- "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.