»The Honorable George L. Argyros '59

Chairman & CEO of Arnel & Affiliates
Board of Trustees of Chapman University

Board of Counselors of the Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University
Bachelor of Arts '59 (Business and Economics), Chapman University


Biography

The Honorable George L. Argyros served as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra from November 2001 to November 2004. 

During this extraordinary period in Spain’s history, Ambassador Argyros’ outstanding diplomatic accomplishments included:

  • Forging a close alliance with King Juan Carlos and former President Jose Maria Aznar that resulted in Spain’s support and participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
  • Guiding the U.S. response to the tragic terrorist bombings in 2003.
  • Working with the Spanish government to implement a new biometric passport program and container security initiative.
  • Implementing new initiatives to assist and promote U.S. trade and investment in Spain. During this period, Ambassador Argyros personally led two major Spanish trade delegations to the United States.
  • Negotiating the Defense Cooperation Agreement that strengthens the military alliance between Spain and the United States.

Ambassador Argyros is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arnel & Affiliates, a prominent West Coast diversified Investment Company, with corporate offices located in Costa Mesa, California. He is also a General Partner in Westar Capital, a private investment company.  From 1981-1987, he was co-owner of AirCal, which was successfully sold to American Airlines in 1987; and from 1981-1989, he was owner of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club of the American League for nine full seasons.

Mr. Argyros is a member of the Board of Directors for First American Corporation (NYSE), and  DST Systems, Inc. (NYSE).  Prior to his ambassadorship, he was a member of the Board of Directors for Rockwell International Corporation (NYSE) and The Newhall Land and Farming Company (NYSE.)

Ambassador Argyros formerly served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the U.S. Trade Representative until 1990, when President G. W. Bush appointed him to the board of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). He completed his term on the Freddie Mac Board in March 1993.

From 1976 to 2001, Ambassador Argyros set a record as the longest serving Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chapman University, one of the West’s finest private universities.  He currently remains on the Chapman Board while also serving as a Life Trustee for the California Institute of Technology, where he formerly served as Chairman of the Investment Committee.

Mr. Argyros is an International Councilor and Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. that provides world leaders with strategic insights on and policy solutions to global issues; Trustee Emeritus of Library of Congress Open World Leadership Board; former Member of U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Member of the Hoover Institution’s Board of Overseers, former Chairman of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation; Founding Chairman for the Nixon Center in Washington D.C.; Board of Regents for the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America, as well as former Chairman and Board Member of the Council; Chairman Emeritus of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, a major philanthropic foundation for scientific research.

Ambassador Argyros was a 1993 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans, perhaps the single most coveted award given in America to non-military, non-show business individuals.  He served as President and CEO of the Washington D.C. based Horatio Alger Association from 1995 to 1998, Chairman from 1998 to 2000, and currently serves as Treasurer and Chairman Emeritus.  In 2004, he was selected by the Horatio Alger Association to receive the Norman Vincent Peale Award in recognition for his ongoing involvement in the Association and his humanitarian contributions to society.

In 1997, Ambassador Argyros received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine University; in 2001, he was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; in 2005, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Chapman University; and in 2010, Ambassador Argyros received an honorary Doctorate of Sciences Degree from City of Hope.

Mr. Argyros was selected in 2005 as an Archon of the Mother Church of Constantinople, an esteemed honor in the Greek Orthodox Church, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle.

Ambassador Argyros was the 2007 recipient of the Semper Fidelis Award from the Marine Scholarship Foundation.  In June 2005, through the Horatio Alger Association, he and Mrs. Argyros initiated the first national college scholarship program exclusively for veterans who have served honorably in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  As of January 2009, 2,349 scholarships had been awarded to these veterans.

Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Pasadena, California, Ambassador Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in Business and Economics.  He and his wife, Julia, have been married for 50 years and have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

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George Argyros '59

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