J. B. Fuqua
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John Brooks "J.B." Fuqua (pronounced //) (June 26, 1918 – April 5, 2006) was a businessman, philanthropist and chairman of The Fuqua Companies and Fuqua Enterprises. The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University is named after him.
Born John Brooks Elam, Jr. in Prince Edward County, Virginia and raised on a small tobacco farm, Fuqua formed a number of successful business conglomerates. After listening to WRVA from an early age, he pursued his interest in radio by earning his commercial operator's license at age 17.
As an adolescent, Fuqua educated himself by requesting books from the Duke University Library to be mailed to his farm. He credited Duke's lending program with enabling him to learn about business techniques.
From the 1950s to the 1990s, Fuqua developed a sizable business empire: including Snapper lawnmower dealerships and multiple media outlets, among them a TV station with his initials — WJBF-TV in Augusta, Georgia.
Fuqua was active in politics for much of his life. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate, and he chaired the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1962 to 1966. He also was a close friend and supporter of presidents Jimmy Carter and Lyndon B. Johnson, and former Savannah Mayor and billionaire Julius Curtis Lewis, Jr..
In the 1970s, Fuqua demonstrated his considerable gratitude to Duke University by donating $10 million to its business school, which was subsequently renamed after him, becoming the Fuqua School of Business. His giving to the university totaled almost $40 million. He is an honorary alumnus of Duke.
Another of Fuqua's philanthropic projects was the Fuqua School in Farmville, Virginia, formerly the Prince Edward Academy. His gift of $10 million in 1993 and a subsequent donation of over $2 million were pledged with the goal of transforming the school from a small private institution on the verge of bankruptcy into a model for rural pre-K-12 education.
In February 1995, Fuqua donated $3 million to the Heart Center of Atlanta to honor his wife, Dorothy, on their 50th wedding anniversary. To recognize his generosity, the program was renamed the Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta. In 1999, Mr. Fuqua contributed another $3 million to the Fuqua Heart Center to implement cardiac education programs for patients, their families, and the community, and in 2008 the J.B. Fuqua Trust awarded a $5 million bequest, which represented the largest estate gift to Piedmont Hosptial in its 102 year history and demonstrated the Fuqua family's ongoing commitment both to the Fuqua heart center and to heart care at Piedmont Hospital. The bequest enables the Fuqua Heart Center to maintain the latest technology as advancements are made, and to support educational and scientific programs. Today the Fuqua Heart Center continues to provide superior cardiac care to patients on the Piedmont Hospital campus.