The J.B. Fuqua Story

JB Fuqua portrait

The man for whom The Fuqua School of Business is named, J.B. Fuqua, was born John Brooks Elam, Jr., on June 26, 1918. He was raised by his grandparents on a tobacco farm in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He changed his name to Fuqua, his mother's maiden name, and dropped the "Jr." when he was old enough to legally do so.

Fuqua began his relationship with Duke University when, as a teenage student, he borrowed books by mail from the Duke library. A voracious reader and a quick study, Fuqua never went to college. Instead, he pursued a higher education on his own.

"I am proof that any obstacle can be overcome if you are willing to educate yourself and work hard." —  J.B. Fuqua  

JB Fuqua breaking ground

His cumulative giving to Duke was nearly $40 million, establishing him as one of Duke's largest individual benefactors.

JB Fuqua speaking at the Fuqua School of Business

"I began to order books on finance and banking and things I did not understand much about," wrote Fuqua in his book, Fuqua: How I Made My Fortune Using Other People's Money. "I think if I had not had access to those books from Duke and other reading materials, I would certainly have been less successful early on in my business career."

Among his many accomplishments, Fuqua is best known as the founder and chairman of Fuqua Industries, Inc., the Atlanta-based Fortune 500 company. What started as a small manufacturer of bricks grew to become a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate of business holdings.

"People make their living from their money, but they make their mark by what they share." —  J.B. Fuqua

Fuqua was a Duke trustee and a charter member of the Board of Visitors of The Fuqua School of Business. In addition to gaining an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Duke in 1973, Fuqua was awarded honorary degrees from nine other colleges and universities. 

J. B. Fuqua died on April 5, 2006, at the age of 87.