Founder & Former CEO, Carson/Roberts

Ralph Carson was a lifelong entrepreneur. He often spoke of his earliest experiences selling newspapers, and the butter and egg route he had as a teenager in Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Like so many business pioneers of his generation, Carson was fully aware of the tremendous potential for growth in southern California after World War II. He set up his own shop in 1946, then teamed up with talented art director Jack Roberts to build Carson/Roberts. Theadvertising agency that would grow to be the largest headquartered in the western United States and by every measure, one of the most successful and highly respected anywhere. It attracted the best talent on the West Coast, and over the years, many of the best professionals from New York and all over the world.

As an entrepreneur himself, the clients Carson treasured most were also entrepreneurs. Among them were Mattell, Baskin Robbins, Hunt-Wesson, Ernest & Julio Gallo, Rose Marie Reid and Capitol Records, MCA.

Carson¿s personal experience and the profound influence of so many of his clients led to what is perhaps his most lasting contribution, the creation of the School of Entrepreneurship in the Business School at the University of Southern California.

Carson was an outstanding individual who happened to make his living in the advertising business. He decided that when we wake up in the morning, we have two choices: we can elect to have a happy day or an unhappy day. He believed it was a matter of attitude. To Ralph, "Have a Happy Day" was more than a motto, it was the only way to live. Employees and clients alike basked in the glow of Carson¿s positive attitude.

He brought to the advertising business, as a model for so many others, a personal ethos of kindness and trust and consideration that people found surprising and refreshing, and best of all contagious.