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James W. Walter Eminent Scholar Chair of Entrepreneurship

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James Walter

This fund honors James W. Walter, Sr. Born in Delaware, Walter grew up in Tampa. In 1946, he was a Navy veteran and was newly married at the age of 23. After borrowing money and buying an unfinished house, Walter moved the house to a lot and sold it for profit. “It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that opportunity was knocking,” he said later. From his first house purchased for $895, Walter built his business, Jim Walter Homes, into one of the nation’s leading industrial companies.

The Jim Walter Corp. went on to diversify into building materials, marble quarries, coal mining and water pipelines. In 1988, the company was purchased for $2.4 billion, after Walter had overseen the building and selling of more than 280,000 houses. Walter passed away in 2000 at age 77.

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