NCCU Dean And
Tuskegee Airman, Dr. Stewart B. Fulbright Dies At 91
By Mike Mitchell
January 10, 2012 - Dr. Stewart B. Fulbright, 92, a
Tuskegee Airman during World War II who later became the
first dean of the School of Business at North Carolina
Central University, died in Durham on January 1.
Born in Springfield, Mo., in 1919, Dr. Fulbright
attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.,
graduating in 1941 with a bachelor’s degree in French.
He remained at Lincoln as an instructor in French.
early 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, which in
1941 had created a program in Tuskegee, Alabama, to
train African-American aviators. He was one of nearly
1,000 men who trained there to be pilots, navigators and
bombardiers during the war. The program was known as the
“military experiment” that was later to be called the “Tuskegee
Experience”, so named because the unit trained at
segregated facilities in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Overcoming segregation and prejudices, the participants
of the Tuskegee Experiment proved African Americans
could expertly fly and maintain sophisticated military
Overcoming segregation and prejudices, the participants of the Tuskegee Experiment proved African Americans could expertly fly and maintain sophisticated military aircraft.
Many of the pilots went on to become some of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Fulbright was one of the first pilots on the B-25 in charge of the crew. Fulbright was commissioned as a second lieutenant and pilot in December 1943 and served as a B-25 bomber pilot for the rest of the war. His all-black 477th Bombardment Group was preparing for deployment in the Pacific theater when the war ended in 1945.
completing his military service, he enrolled at the University
of Chicago, where he received an MBA degree in 1947. He joined
the faculty of the Commerce Department at North Carolina College
(now NCCU) that same year. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in
business administration from Ohio State University in 1953.
as acting dean of the Undergraduate School from 1966 to 1968,
then returned to the Commerce Department as its chair in 1968.
When the department became the School of Business in 1972, he
became its first dean, serving in that position until 1976.
After his retirement in 1982, Dr. Fulbright was honored by the
university with the title of professor emeritus.
thought of him as a friend,” said Dr. Howard Fitts, former chair
of Public Health programs at NCCU and a longtime colleague. “He
was well-liked and respected, and students felt at ease with
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