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2008 News Releases
Paul Fox honored for contributions to Longwood’s College of Business & Economics
January 28, 2008
One of the most enthusiastic supporters of Longwood University’s College of Business & Economics (CBE) has been honored for his efforts.
The Longwood Board of Visitors in December named the corporate board room in Hiner Hall, which houses the CBE, the Paul H. Fox Board Room, recognizing the business consultant and retired Reynolds Metals Company executive who helped launch the Corporate Advisory Board and has been an active member since its inception in 1992. Fox also started and chaired the Executive-in-Residence program, was instrumental in recruiting former dean Dr. Berkwood Farmer and helping the CBE earn AACSB accreditation, and he assists with student recruitment and with internships.
“I can’t think of a more appropriate recognition for Mr. Fox,” said Melinda Fowlkes, interim dean of the CBE. “He has given 16 years of dedicated service to the Corporate Advisory Board, to the CBE and to Longwood University. He has recruited many of our Corporate Board members and Executive-in-Residence speakers, he regularly sets up programs in Richmond, and he often sends President Cormier the names of prospective students.”
Fox, who has lived in Richmond since 1970, first became involved with the CBE when it was looking for a new dean in 1991. “I knew Berkwood Farmer through a bank that I helped start, Fidelity Federal, and he asked me if he should apply for the job,” Fox said. “I told him he should, then I recommended him to the search committee.”
Dr. Farmer, who left Longwood in 2001 to become dean of the business school at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, was gratified by the naming of the room for his longtime friend. “Paul had tremendous input and leadership in developing many of our programs,” he said. “His vision was central to helping the College get to where it is today.”
Fox also has been honored through the Paul and Frances Fox Scholarship, endowed by the Corporate Advisory Board in October 2004, which is for a newly admitted freshman majoring in business or economics. The scholarship, now up to $180,000 through contributions from friends and family members, was awarded for the first time recently to Chelsea Miller, currently a sophomore. The scholarship also recognizes Fox’s wife of 59 years, who died in 2002.
Fox, who will be formally recognized in a ceremony March 28, is particularly proud of his role in launching the Executive-in-Residence program. “That was one of the six goals we spelled out at the first meeting of the Corporate Advisory Board, all of which were met,” he said. “The Executive-in-Residence program has been a blessing to the College of Business & Economics. When I was going to school, it would have been wonderful if we (students) could have rubbed shoulders with diverse CEOs.”
Paul Harris Fox, who will turn 93 on March 29, grew up the youngest of nine children in Alcoa, Tenn., named for the company that eventually had three aluminum plants in the town just south of Knoxville. He attended nearby Maryville College on a five-year cooperative program while working 40 hours a week for Alcoa. “I wanted to sell aluminum, but when I graduated (B.A. in economics, 1938), they told me I needed an engineering degree to go into sales,” he said.
After working for a furniture company in Knoxville, he went to work on Sept. 9, 1941 for Reynolds Metals, Alcoa’s biggest competitor. He planned production at an aluminum rolling mill, the company’s first, in Sheffield, Ala.
During his 42-year Reynolds career, Fox became the president of three subsidiary companies and a corporate vice president before retiring in 1983, though he still doesn’t think of himself as retired. His positions included founding president of Reynolds Aluminum Supply Co. (1954-70), a national network of warehouses involved in the sale and distribution of aluminum and other products, and executive vice president of Reynolds International Inc. (1971-81), the company’s international arm. From 1973-81 he also was president of Reynolds Aluminum Export Corporation, which had plants in 25 countries and did business in 63 countries. In addition to Sheffield, Ala., and Richmond, where Reynolds was headquartered until it merged with Alcoa in 2000, Fox also worked in Seattle, Chicago, Louisville, Ky., Savannah, Ga., and Atlanta.
He worked on the B-29 bomber program during World War II, may have been the first person to sell aluminum irrigation pipe, visited 44 countries, met three times with the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1975 and attended the historic re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, in 1979. “I met with Sadat twice one-on-one, and J. Louis Reynolds, chairman of Reynolds International, and I had dinner with him once. Sadat wanted an irrigation system and a commercial fishing system, which we were able to help him with. He was a splendid, brilliant man.” The 1979 ceremony at the embassy in Beijing, which had been closed since the current government was established in 1949, was televised internationally by CBS. “My wife got phone calls from friends in several states saying that they’d seen me on TV. I was representing Reynolds; we were the first country invited in (to China) to evaluate their aluminum industry.”
A profile of Fox in a 1961 Reynolds publication noted “Whoever coined the phrase ‘born salesman’ must have been thinking of Paul Fox. His career with Reynolds reflects the drive, imagination and persuasive personality of a man who thrives on the challenge of selling, often against long odds.”
Nowadays Fox enjoys selling Longwood to prospective students. “I know I’ve recruited over 50 students. Then I help them get jobs,” he said.
Fox received one of the first two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards from Longwood in 2000. He has been listed in Who’s Who in American Business and Industry and has served on numerous boards of financial and business institutions.
“Paul Fox is the most active 92-year-old person I know, and he gets things done,” said Barry Case, a member of the Board of Visitors currently on leave from the Corporate Advisory Board.