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Who is Bruce T. Halle?
Halle Fulfills Longtime Student Need
By Cathy Jentoft,
Bruce T. Halle wanted to give something back to his alma mater.
No stranger to philanthropy, Halle, an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University, made the largest gift in University history. The Bruce T. Halle Endowment was established with a $1.5 million gift. Once the endowment grows to $5 million, funds will be distributed to the Library Endowment, the Endowed Chair in Polymers and Coatings, the Wade McCree Endowed Scholarship, and the Distinguished Chair in Urban Education.
"The University gave me a lot," Halle said, from his office in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he is chairman of Discount Tire Co., Inc. "I received a wonderful education and a wonderful lifetime experience. I have fond memories of the University, and once I was able to, I wanted to do something for the school. Part of the money was to go toward [endowing] a new library, as that was a need for the University."
Halle graduated from EMU in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He also received an honorary doctorate from EMU and said it was an honor to deliver the University's commencement address in April 1995.
"I was able to look out at all the nice, young students going out in the world as products of Eastern Michigan University just like I was," Halle said.
After working on campus in McKenny Hall (now known as McKenny Union) in a variety of roles including landscaper, janitor and soda bar attendant, Halle started Discount Tire Co. in 1960 with his first store in Ann Arbor. Today, his is the largest independent tire dealer in North America, with 440 stores in 16 states and over $1 billion in annual revenues. Headquartered in Scottsdale, the company is primarily a merchandiser of private-brand tires manufactured by Goodyear, General, and B.F. Goodrich tire companies under names owned and controlled by Discount Tire. The company also sells Michelin, Goodyear, Pirelli, Goodrich and Yokohama name brands, to name a few.
Halle was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1930. He first enrolled at EMU in 1948, living in Munson Hall. In 1950, at the start of the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. After his tour of duty, he returned to EMU in 1953, graduating three years later. "I always wanted to go back and finish my college degree at Eastern Michigan," Halle said.
Bruce Halle has received numerous recognitions, including the American Academy of Achievement’s prestigious Golden Plate Award, Outstanding Business Leader from Northwood University, Honorary Chairman of Muscular Dystrophy and Juvenile Diabetes, Founders Award from the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation, and Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Arizona State University. He is a member of ASU’s Dean's Council of 100 and is an Entrepreneurial Fellow at the University of Arizona. Halle also is a Beta Gamma Sigma honoree.
A resident of Paradise Valley, Ariz., Bruce Halle has been a long-time supporter of community activities and various charities. He supports the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Liver Foundation, American Red Cross, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Childhelp USA, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In his home state, he supports the Arizona Boys and Girls Clubs, Arizona Opera League, the Phoenix and Scottsdale Symphonies, the Crisis Nursery, Arizona Kidney Foundation, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and was the first to pledge charter membership of the Children's Urban Survival Program in Phoenix. Now, Bruce Halle can add EMU to this impressive list of grateful organizations.