A Heart of Gold
“Earl was incredibly special and so passionate, an understatement, about Goizueta Business School.”
Multiple current and former members of Goizueta Business School recall the late Dolive as someone who routinely, and unabashedly, offered friendship, counsel and support to everyone from undergraduates to the dean and other senior staff. Colleagues remember Dolive sharing — often for several minutes during Dean’s Advisory Board meetings — how then-Emory Business School had a tremendous impact on his career. Perhaps most notable to Dolive was how Emory gave him a scholarship, which enabled him to enroll.
That changed the trajectory of his life, which lasted 95 years.
In 1997, Dolive donated a $250,000 in support of a new, technologically advanced business school building. He did so, in part, because he was drawn to the vision of then-Dean Ronald E. Frank.
“Earl was incredibly special and so passionate, an understatement, about Goizueta Business School,” said Maria Mazursky, an associate dean from 2007 to 2009. “He was indeed a kind and gentle man.”
Dolive, who died on Feb. 26, 2013, rarely missed a board meeting. If he did, it was for good reason, like the time a brown recluse spider bit him after his daily swim.
Mazursky recalled how Dolive would meet with former Dean Larry Benveniste at the Cherokee Town and Country Club to talk about the school. Conversations often went beyond two hours, in which he introduced Benveniste to everyone he passed at the club. Benveniste said Dolive repeated a similar message at every advisory board meeting.
“‘I owe everything to the business school!’” Benveniste recalled him saying. “(He was) good and great man.”
"Earl Dolive was one of the brightest and most creative executives I have ever worked with."
Dolive graduated from Emory with a degree in accounting. He served in the Army Air Forces throughout World War II. Dolive was the chief administrative officer for a hospital with the 20th Air Force in India until his discharge in 1946. As an employee at Genuine Parts, he worked his way up from a job in the stockroom to head of purchasing at the company's Charlotte, N.C. branch. He eventually landed in Atlanta as vice president of finance for the company and was appointed vice chairman in 1974.
In 1989, Dolive was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation by the Automotive Hall of Fame for helping to make Genuine Parts one of the largest automotive wholesale distributors in the country.
The Hall of Fame noted that Dolive had a “life-long devotion to the welfare of the automotive aftermarket and automotive parts jobber, his creative programs for improving inventory control, handling and distribution of goods, as well as over 42 years of service to Genuine Parts Co.”
But he may be most remembered for his contributions and attention to customer service and employee relations.
In Dolive’s obituary, Wilton Looney, a retired chairman of Genuine Parts Company, said simply that the organization was, “just plain fortunate to have him on (the) team.”
"Earl Dolive was one of the brightest and most creative executives I have ever worked with,” Looney was quoted as saying. “He was not only involved in finance, but he had a knack of just taking over any part of the company that he thought needed attention. I learned early in working with him that if he came to me with an idea of a change or something new, to listen well because it was going to be well thought out. In some cases, I learned later that he had already put it into effect before telling me about it. Today, many of GPC's best programs are the result of Earl's work.”
Julie Barefoot, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions, remembered Dolive as a one-of-a-kind, sweet, kind Southern gentleman with a heart of gold and a twinkle in his eye.
“He was from a different time and different generation, and he had a huge impact on his company and on the business school,” she said. “I’m so glad that I got to know him and that he knew me.”