Hall of Honor
Born in Wilmington, Del., in 1913, Jack Eckerd graduated from Culver Military Academy and the Boeing School of Aeronautics. He was a pilot for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, receiving three Air Medals and the Presidential Unit Citation. Starting in the 1950s, he founded Eckerd Drugs and transformed the retail drugstore business, creating self-service stores and the national chain bearing his name.
He was actively involved in politics and service in both state and national government for 30 years, receiving three appointments by Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Jack Eckerd was also known for his philanthropic activities for numerous causes, such as Ruth Eckerd Hall; Richard B. Baumgardner Center for the Performing Arts in Clearwater, Fla.; and what is now known as Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.
As the founder of one of the nation’s leading providers of therapeutic programs for at-risk and troubled youth, Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Jack Eckerd left a monumental legacy. Eckerd Youth Alternatives (EYA) recognizes his tremendous vision, his encouraging leadership and his commitment to creating an organization that would guide youth to a better path in life. When asked what the most important thing was to Jack Eckerd he always said, “the kids.”