Spring on the York College campus

Back to List

YJC Alumnus Chloé Eichelberger Leaves Legacy of Support for York College

January 11, 2024
Headshot of Chloe Eichelberger

President Thomas Burns chose to laud Chloé Eichelberger, who passed away on Dec. 2, 2023, during his first commencement address at York College on December 13. 

“As I thought about what advice I should give, or what words of encouragement I might offer you, or what examples I thought would inspire our new Spartans, I decided I wanted to focus on an exemplary Spartan that I’ve learned about recently,” he said to the graduates. “Today, I am going to use the life and achievements of a member of the Spartan community, Chloé Eichelberger, a Yorker, a 1954 graduate of York Junior College, and a trustee emerita who lived a life that was noble, grateful, and loving.”

During his address, Burns shared the lifetime accomplishments of Eichelberger. He spoke of her remarkable professional career, which began in 1955 as a laboratory technician with United Piece Dye Works. By 1980, she had climbed the corporate ladder and was one of seven company managers who offered to buy United Piece Dye Works from its parent company in France. She eventually became the vice president in charge of operations of the new company. In September of 1987, Eichelberger purchased the dyeing and finishing plant in Middletown, PA, from United and began her own company, Chloé Eichelberger Textiles, Inc. She then became a major supplier of finely finished fabrics for men's and women's wear as well as the home furnishings industry.

“That’s all incredible, but what’s most impressive to me, though, is that Chloé did all of this with grace, patience, and passion,” Burns said. “Sure, she was driven and worked extremely hard, but she was known as a person who listened carefully, who gave thoughtful advice, and who always wanted to help others succeed. Chloé was a gift to those that knew her.”

Eichelberger was certainly a gift to her alma mater and to the students who benefitted from her generosity and devotion to helping them grow as professionals. In 2011, she created the first ever endowed professorship at York College, the Chloé Eichelberger ’54 Endowed Chair in Business Education, to enhance the College's ability to prepare future business leaders. Through her gift, the College was able to establish the Chloé Eichelberger Business Education Series. 

"As the founding Dean of the Graham School of Business, I was privileged to hold the Eichelberger Chair of Business Education,” said James Norrie, Professor of Cybersecurity, Strategy & Entrepreneurship. “From my earliest encounter with Chloé, it was so clear she cared about the College, its mission, and its students. She exemplified our motto in both word and deed and I will miss her greatly, although her legacy will be with us forever.”

Eichelberger served as a York College trustee from 1995 to 2007 and served in 2012 on the Business Campaign Steering Committee, the leadership group for the campaign that led to the renovation of Willman Business Center. She was a member of the 1968 Society for her 38 consecutive years of giving to the College. The longtime hostess of an annual event in Naples, FL, she graciously welcomed friends and alumni to her private club for a delightful night of engagement with faculty and students. 

York College acknowledged Eichelberger’s extraordinary service with a Distinguished Alumna award in 1996, an honorary doctorate in 2009, and designation as trustee emerita. Chloé was the personification of the York College motto to serve is to live,” Burns said. 

Eichelberger was very involved and supported many events and charities in York and surrounding communities. She served on many boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Susquehanna Bancshares, First Capital Bank of York, the York Water Company, York Foundation, York College of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, Susquehanna Alliance, Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, and Memorial Hospital. She was instrumental in the decision to build the new UPMC Memorial Hospital and subsequently served on their Board of Directors as a Charter Member.

Eichelberger served as president of the Out Door Country Club from 1987-1991 with the distinction of being the first and only female president in the Club's history to date. She was a member of the Women's Giving Circle of the York County Community Foundation. She also supported the York Symphony Orchestra and was also very instrumental in sponsoring and providing scholarships for teen girls and women through Distinguished Young Women of York County and Miss Pennsylvania.

Eichelberger received many awards, including the YWCA Women Who Make a Difference Award in 1996, Capital Region Chamber of Commerce Athena Award in 1996, the Easter Seals Society Power to Overcome Award in 1990, the Cornerstone Award by Lutheran Social Services in 2012 and was inducted as a member of the Central Penn Business Journal’s Hall of Fame in 2009. 

“Chloé was a great friend to and great supporter of her alma mater,” said Vice President of Advancement Troy Miller. “She was a trailblazer who brought attention and dignity to everything she did. When I walk through the Willman Business Center and see her portrait there, what I will remember most is her insatiable curiosity and the heart and caring she possessed for all Spartans. Chloé was a life-long learner, and taught everyone she met by example through her spirit, her class, and her quiet and determined action.”