B.A., Denison University, 196
M.B.A., Stanford, 1965
Citation awarded June, 2012
In the 50 years since he left Denison, Sam has crafted a very interesting life for himself. His first career, in banking and finance, was immensely successful. His second, melding finance and science, promises the same.
Sam joined Bank of America right out of Denison as a credit trainee in Southern California. A year later, he left the bank to obtain an MBA from Stanford, and in 1964, he rejoined the bank in its San Francisco headquarters. From 1964-1981, he held a series of technical staff and line operative assignments in domestic and international markets including three postings to London with executive responsibilities for the London branch and the Europe, Middle East and Africa division. Returning to San Francisco in 1979, he became BankAmerica Corporation’s CFO and a Director. In 1981, at the age of 41, he became president and CEO. During his tenure, the bank regained its position as the world’s largest bank and reorganized to the meet the challenges of a deregulated banking industry.
In 1987, Sam joined Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and from 1990-1998 was a partner and managing director of Weiss, Peck & Greer, engaged in venture capital, managed buyouts and investment advisory services.
Sam Retired from Weiss, Peck and Green in 1998 to become chairman of SRI International, formerly Stanford Research Institute, an independent technology research and development organization. He still serves as a director and chairman emeritus after his retirement in 2010.
Throughout his career, other firms have used Sam’s skills. He is director of Chevron and Exponent, Inc. He serves on the boards of DelMonte Foods, Callaway Golf Company and Franklin Resources, Inc. Previously, he was a director of Safeway Stores and Scios Corporation.
His engagement in business and civic enterprises have included positions with the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, Brookings Institution, Japan-California Assn., United Way of America, The California Chamber of Commerce, The James Irvine Foundation, the San Francisco Opera and Symphony, and the California Academy of Sciences, among others.
Sam received an Honorary Degree from Denison in 1982. His “volunteer” service to Denison, is, shall we say, non-tradition. For almost 30 years, he was a supportive and proud spouse as his wife, Mary Jane LeVan Armacost, devoted countless hours to her service on the Denison Board of Trustees.
We honor Sam Armacost ’61 for his skillful managing of not just one career arc, but two, clearly illustrating that the only limits we have are those we impose on ourselves.