Gustav Auzenne

Biography

Deceased December 22, 1977

A century ago, business education began at Temple University when the School of Commerce, forerunner to the Fox School of Business, opened its doors in 1918. Russell H. Conwell—a minister, lawyer, and educator founded Temple three decades earlier to provide highly motivated students access to excellent, affordable higher education, regardless of their means and backgrounds. Gustav Auzenne, Jr., known as “Gus,” was one such highly motivated student. Born in 1894 in Frilot Cove, Louisiana—a rural community of several hundred people about three hours northwest of New Orleans, he grew up farming and then worked as a blacksmith.

Mr. Auzenne went on to attend Tuskegee University, a historically black university in Alabama and graduated in 1920. Hungry for more education, Mr. Auzenne traveled to Philadelphia to enroll in Temple’s fledging School of Commerce. He focused on finance and banking at a time when Temple’s business school also offered degrees in penmanship, secretarial administration, and even typewriting. Temple’s 1926 yearbook dubbed Mr. Auzenne a man who “gets everything he goes after.” He earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce—the precursor to the Bachelor of Science degree. Mr. Auzenne went on to complete an MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania, spent five months in Europe researching American investments abroad, and began a PhD program, also at Penn. Beginning at Temple, and for the rest of his life, Mr. Auzenne was active in Alpha Phi Alpha—the first African American, inter-collegiate Greek-lettered fraternity—applying his business, accounting, and banking skills in leadership positions in several Alpha chapters. Mr. Auzenne worked for years as a certified public accountant at Garlick and Auzenne in Philadelphia, and took up a teaching position at Howard University in Washington, DC, in the 1930s. At Howard, a historically black university founded in 1867, he served as assistant treasurer and then rose to professor and then chairman of the Department of Business in the 1950s. In that decade, Mr. Auzenne chaired two conferences on academic freedom in the US capital gripped by McCarthyism. In the 1950s, he also visited Panama to plan for faculty exchanges and was knighted into the Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa by the government of Panama. As a lifelong learner, Mr. Auzenne was passionate about education, teaching, and traveling the world. At his death in 1977, Mr. Auzenne first remembered his siblings in his will, followed by godchildren, a nephew, and a Louisiana church parish. He gave his books to Howard University as the core of their business library. But the remainder of Mr. Auzenne’s estate went to Temple University, for “scholarships for worthy and deserving business students.” Each year at the Fox School, a rising senior receives a generous scholarship in Mr. Auzenne’s name. His final gift—now an endowed scholarship—will continue to touch and change the lives of Fox students as long as Temple thrives.

Temple University Degree
Bachelor of Science in Commerce ’26, Fox School of Business