Alvin N. Puryear, PhD. was a University educator, church, civic and community leader, and a distinguished alumni leader at Yale University, as well as a management and governance expert. Above all, he was a devoted husband, proud father and grandfather to his three daughters and two granddaughters.
Alvin Puryear was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1937. His family moved to Hampton, Virginia where he graduated from George P. Phenix High School. At Phenix, he was an outstanding student athlete. He was the starting offensive and defensive tackle for the football team and was named to the All-State Team. As captain of the basketball team, Alvin helped lead the team to a 21-1 record. As a distinguished member of the track and field team, Phenix won titles in the shot put and discus throw. Alvin earned nine varsity letters and remained ranked #1 academically in his class. He graduated as Class Valedictorian in 1955.
After graduation, Alvin accepted a scholarship to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to attending Yale, he decided to enroll at Hampton Institute to enhance his preparation. He would go on to graduate from Yale with All-Ivy honors as a football player and earned his bachelor’s degree as an honor graduate in sociology. Alvin was offered a contract by the New York Titans (now New York Jets) to play professionally, but would decide to pursue his education rather than a career playing football.
Alvin attended the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University in New York City, where he earned MBA and PhD degrees in Finance and was a Samuel Bronfman Fellow and a John Hay Whitney Fellow. While in school, Dr. Puryear was an assistant coach for Riverdale Country School with legendary Head Coach Frank Bertino. The team had an undefeated streak of 51 games during Dr. Puryear’s five years with the team.
After completing his education, Dr. Puryear worked for Exxon Mobile and Allied Chemical Corporation.
He soon transitioned to academia as faculty at the Graduate Business School at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, later moving to the Business School of Bernard Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Dr. Puryear became a full tenured professor at age 35, one of the youngest to accomplish the feat at CUNY. He held several significant positions at the University during his time there. He was equally as committed to his community and church as he was to his profession and family. He held several positions in the Presbyterian Church to include Chairman of the Program Agency Board; Chairman of the Central Treasury Corporation and Chairman of the Investment and Loan Corporation. Dr. Puryear further maintained a life-long relationship with Yale University, as he served as a Board Member, trustee, and chaired the Association of Yale Alumni.
Dr. Puryear will be remembered as a well-respected academic, coach, athlete and family centered man.