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Paul Craig Roberts
George Champion R.I.P.
By Jeffrey Hart
On September 16, 1997, George Champion died at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.
A member of the Dartmouth Class of 1926, Mr. Champion was an outstanding back on the football team. He was a member of the 1925 team, which was undefeated and was considered national champion after defeating the strong University of Chicago team. A tall and fleet runner, Champion performed well in sweeps around the ends and also as a dangerous pass receiver. While an undergraduate, he formed a close friendship with President Ernest Martin Hopkins which lasted throughout Mr. Hopkins' life.
Mr. Champion joined the Chase National Bank in 1930 and enjoyed one of the most important banking careers of his era. In 1953 he became head of Chase's domestic corporate banking division. When Chase and the Bank of Manhattan merged in 1955, he was named executive vice president of the new company. He became president of Chase Manhattan in 1957 and chairman in 1961, presiding over an enormous increase in the bank's assets. He also served as chairman and president of the Economic Development Council in New York.
At Chase Manhattan he was a vigorous critic of "soft" loans abroad,especially to risky Third-World nations, and often was able to resist the shakiest of them. He considered, in retrospect, that the history of repayment of these loans had proved him right.
For many years he was regular diner at the Sky Club restaurant atop the PanAm Building in New York, where he was popular with his peers, and he was also a member of the Links Club in midtown.
After the upheavals of the 1960s at universities around the country, Mr. Champion was a strong critic of the lurch to the left at Dartmouth, which he saw as establishing a mindless liberalism as virtually the official religion of Dartmouth College. Had he lived through the present moment, he probably would not have been surprised to see Hazel O'Leary or the fiction writer Bob Reich named to succeed James 0. Freedman.
In resisting the leftward lurch, he founded the Hopkins Institute, which is devoted to the cause of genuine liberal education. From the beginning, he was a good friend of The Dartmouth Review and, while health permitted, a valuable member of its Board of Directors.
He died at 93, and is survived by his wife Eleanor and several children and grandchildren.