J. B. Fuqua
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, as is the Fuqua School in Farmville, Virginia.
Early years and education
John Brooks Elam Jr. was born on June 26, 1918 in Prince Edward County, Virginia, to John B. (November 15, 1890 - ) and Ruth Fuqua Elam (July 31, 1892 - September 7, 1918). His mother died two months after his birth; he was adopted by his maternal grandparents, who raised him on a small tobacco farm, and changed his last name to Fuqua. He graduated from Prospect high school, in Prospect, Virginia.
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.
Business and politics
From the 1950s to the 1990s, Fuqua developed several businesses, such as Snapper lawnmower dealerships; multiple media outlets, including WJBF-TV, a TV station named for his initials, in Augusta, Georgia; real estate; insurance; banking; soft drink manufacturing; and auto finance, under the name Fuqua Industries.
In 1989 J.B. Fuqua retired as chairman from Fuqua Industries, selling stock he had in the company. In 1993, Fuqua paid $1 million to Fuqua Industries to remove his name from the company he had started, and was no longer connected to. His former company renamed itself to Actava Group, which later merged into Metromedia International.
In 1989, Fuqua acquired 35 percent of Vista Resources, renaming it Fuqua Enterprises in 1995. Fuqua and his son owned nearly 40 percent of the company’s common stock. He repeated what he did with his previous company acquiring different businesses this time in the areas such as the leather business and medical equipment.
Fuqua was active in politics for much of his life. On November 7, 1957 he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, to fill the unexpired term of Richard Lee Chambers III, who had resigned on October 10. This was during the period of the County Unit System in Georgia, so that Fuqua was one of three House members representing Richmond County. He was re-elected to two additional full terms in the House, before running for a seat in the State Senate. In 1962, Fuqua was elected to the Georgia Senate, taking office in January 1963, in a district previously represented by Carl Sanders. He served one term in the State Senate. From 1962 to 1966, Fuqua chaired the Democratic Party of Georgia. He 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 Hospital 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.
J.B. Fuqua died on April 5, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 87.
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- U.S. Business Hall of Fame – Recipients Archived 2012-03-22 at the Wayback Machine