Edward D. Irons, professor and dean emeritus of the business school at Clark Atlanta University, died at his home in Atlanta on January 17. He was 98 years old and suffered from heart disease.
A native of Vinita, Oklahoma, Professor Irons was valedictorian of his high school class. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Wilberforce University in Ohio and a master’s degree in hospital administration at the Univesity of Minnesota.
After working as a hospital administrator in Oklahoma, Professor Irons took a job as the business manager at Florida A&M University. There, he participated in the Tallahassee bus boycott but was told y the university’s administration that he should abandon his protest. Professor Irons then left the university and enrolled in a doctoral program at Harvard Business School. He was the second African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard Business School.
After serving as a bank president, Dr. Irons was the founding dean of the business school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He later served as dean of the business school at Clark Atlanta University from 1990 to 1995.
For more on this African American educational leader, see The Autobiography of Dr. Edward Irons: Only By Grace (Spirit Reign Publishing, 2014).