A direct descendent of the founder of the duPont Company, Alfred Irenee duPont was a sharp, determined entrepreneur whose life was full of adventure, drama, challenges and success. Orphaned at the age of 13, duPont acquired a strong work ethic and developed the ability to creatively think. Along with his four siblings, the eldest of whom was his 17-year-old sister, Annie, duPont succeeded in managing the household after the death of his parents despite relatives’ attempts to send the children to separate households.
duPont studied at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to his home town of Wilmington, DE., to work for the duPont Gunpowder Manufacturing Company. Though he started as a common laborer, duPont quickly excelled. He was responsible for the installation of new machinery that improved the powder-making process. In 1902, the death of the president of the duPont firm caused disruption and insecurities which resulted in talk that the company should be sold. Opposed to the idea of the company being sold, Alfred duPont, along with two cousins, bought the company using a strategy that involved issuing stock rather than paying cash. The method proved successful and enabled the duPont legacy to survive.
duPont’s career in business included numerous conflicts and tensions with other family members. However, his zeal and ingenuity were greatly respected and earned him a good reputation among his relatives. Later in life, he moved to Florida and pursued real estate acquisitions throughout the state. With his third wife, Jessie Ball, duPont settled in Jacksonville, where he died in 1935 at the age of 71.
This scholarship was established by Mrs. Alfred I. duPont in memory of her husband, who desired that his wealth be shared for the benefit of humanit