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In your Sept. 25 edition you reported the death of David Echols, who had held senior management positions with Grant Advertising, Campbell-Ewald and Fuller & Smith & Ross both here and abroad.

You noted that he had been a "marketing lecturer at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business since 1977." While that is true, it doesn't come close to recognizing the impact Dave had on the GSB and almost two decades of its students. Let me explain.

In 1976, Dave presented a "Big Idea" to Harry Davis, who became deputy dean at the GSB. It was to bring together companies with real new product business needs and the faculty and students at the GSB. The companies would benefit from out-of-the-box thinking of the students and the marketing plans they developed; the students would learn from a real world work experience. Harry and the university bought the idea. The New Product Laboratory was begun in 1977. For the past 19 years this unique partnership has succeeded beyond either of the founders' expectations. Fifty companies have worked with over 600 students on 65 different assignments.

The class is one of the most popular on the campus. It has helped to enhance the reputation of the GSB in marketing. It has brought better trained students to the work place. Most importantly, it has helped sponsoring companies develop a large number of successful new products and strategies. The teachers in this program have included a number of retired advertising agency executives including Wayne Fickinger of JWT, Jaye Niefeld of Bozell and, happily, the writer of this letter.

Yes, Dave was a "marketing lecturer" but to those of us who shared the remarkable experience of his idea-the New Product Lab-he was much more.

William E. Whitney

Retired chairman

Ogilvy & Mather Chicago

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