WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that James H. Pugh, Jr., CEO, owner and chairman, Epoch Residential, has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Pugh joins 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2018 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.
Born in Winter Haven, Florida in 1937, Mr. Pugh came from a family of carpenters. When he was four, his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she passed away two years later. From that point on Mr. Pugh moved frequently, living with his father and various relatives throughout childhood. This nomadic lifestyle taught him to be resourceful and adaptable. At age seven, he joined the Cub Scouts and later became involved in the Boy Scouts. He enjoyed pursuing new merit badges and learning different skills, but eventually quit when his friends lost interest in the organization. Mr. Pugh later viewed this as a personal failure and vowed that he would never again be a quitter.
Mr. Pugh went on to attend the University of Florida and paid his tuition by working three on-campus jobs. An active college student, he was involved in student government, Greek life and Army ROTC. Mr. Pugh earned his degree in construction management and then accepted his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. He served in Special Forces and eventually become a 1st Lieutenant before he was honorably discharged from active duty in 1966. After his military service, he took a job with a general contractor in Orlando, but soon he embraced his entrepreneurial spirit, forming Epoch Residential, a development, construction and management company specializing in luxury multifamily apartment communities. Today, Epoch is one of the largest multi-family developers in the country, having developed more than 37,000 apartments in 60 U.S. cities. Mr. Pugh has also founded several other companies including American Momentum Bank, Timescape Resorts, a timeshare resort near Disney World, and BARNIES, a regional coffee company.
"Jim is an incredible business person and philanthropist, but an even better man," said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "Many of our Scholars can relate to the way in which he grew up and understand how his experiences shaped him as a person. I am certain that Jim will serve as an inspiration to these young people. I look forward to working alongside him to further the mission of the Association and better the lives of even more outstanding students."
A prolific fundraiser, Mr. Pugh has provided the financial leadership that led to the success of numerous nonprofit campaigns. He and his wife, Alexis, have supported hundreds of organizations and causes, including the Alexis and Jim Pugh Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, an acclaimed $650 million arts center in Orlando, which he founded and is the chair. The couple has also given generously to a host of organizations, including the University of Florida, which opened its Jim and Alexis Pugh Hall in 2008, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Orlando Museum of Art.
"I have long-admired the important work of the Horatio Alger Association, and couldn't be more pleased to be inducted as a new Member in 2018," said Mr. Pugh. "I promised myself at a young age that I wouldn't give up on the things that I loved. The Association gives exceptional students the means to keep going, and I look forward to being a part of that."
Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.
Mr. Pugh and the Member Class of 2018 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 5-7, 2018, during the Association's 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.
For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2018, please visit www.horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.
SOURCE Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.