William Ardis Marbury, Jr. was born and raised in Ruston when the popular mode of transportation was horse and buggy, before the streets were paved, and when Louisiana Tech had only 400 students. Through the years he has worked diligently to improve life in his community, promote the University he loves, and give back to others. In honor of his extraordinary accomplishments and generosity, he has been named the 2002 College of Business Alumnus of the Year. Immediately after graduating from CAB in 1936, Mr. Marbury entered the fire and casualty insurance business in Ruston. In 1944, he and his wife, Virginia Lomax Marbury, established William A. Marbury & Company, Inc., a managing general insurance agency. This corporation grew to be the largest agency in Louisiana, and one of the largest in the South.
The general agency was sold in the 1950s to Commercial Union Insurance Company, with the Ruston branch remaining the company’s largest in the country. In 1959, the Marburys and their associates founded Bankers Life of Louisiana, which became the largest credit life insurance writer in the state.
Heritage Financial Corporation, a bank holding company headed by Mr. Marbury, merged with Premier Bank of Baton Rouge in 1994. At that time, Premier Bank was one of the largest Louisiana banking institutions, and Mr. Marbury was invited to serve on its board.
Today the Marbury Companies continue to thrive in Ruston, serving the banking, investment, and insurance sectors. The companies Mr. Marbury and his wife founded have had a major impact on the economy and the community.
“It’s difficult to mention William without including Virginia. I know of no other husband and wife team more widely known and respected than Willliam and Virginia Marbury,” said Johnny Maxwell, Ruston business entrepreneur and close friend of the Marburys. “William’s business and personal life has always centered on the Golden Rule—do unto others that which you would have them do unto you. People want to do business with him because they know they will be treated kindly and fairly.”
When Mr. Marbury reflects on his entrepreneurial achievements, he attributes them to fundamental qualities that make up a conscientious person. “The most important quality a human being can have is integrity. Being truthful, honest, and hardworking will make you a successful person. Making money is not a measure of success. Rather, success is achieved by helping others and being a good citizen,” he said.
Throughout Mr. Marbury’s career, he has offered his talents and served his community. He was president and chairman of the board for Ruston State Bank and board member for Lincoln General Hospital and the Louisiana Commerce and Industry Board. He helped found the Ruston Civic Symphony and served as its first president. He was one of the five governing members for the Louisiana Superdome Commission appointed by then Louisiana Governor Dave Treen. He served area youth as president of the Ouachita Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America, in addition to numerous other positions and memberships.He looks to Tech as a pillar of economic and social well being for Ruston. “The biggest impact on Ruston has been Louisiana Tech. On top of being one of the major employers, Tech brings in people from all over the country and the world to work and live in Ruston. This cultural diversity and incredible knowledge base right here in our community adds tremendous vitality to Ruston,” he said.
The Marburys’ history with Tech goes as far back as Tech itself. Mr. Marbury’s wife of 60 years is the granddaughter of Mr. George Madden Lomax, who was instrumental in founding Tech. Down the family tree, the Marburys have been Tech graduates through and through. Mr. and Mrs. Marbury hold their degrees from Tech, along with their two daughters, one grandchild, and Mr. Marbury’s father, a 1910 graduate.
Mr. Marbury helped establish the Louisiana Tech Foundation. He continues to serve on the foundation board, CAB’s advisory board, and the board of the Louisiana Tech Research Foundation.
Louisiana Tech President, Dr. Dan Reneau, commends Mr. Marbury’s lifelong support of Tech and the greater Ruston community. “Through the years, William Marbury has always reached out to Tech and given back in so many ways. He is a steward to Tech and a major economic influence in Mr. Marbury is a standout choice for the CAB Alumnus of the Year honor.”
His award from CAB joins other honors that he has received from Tech throughout his career. He received the Tower Medallion Award in 1995, which marked his induction into Tech’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. In 1987, he and his wife received honorary doctor of law degrees from Tech. In 1996, the Tech Alumni Center was renamed the “Center” in honor of the family’s close ties to Tech.
His honors outside of Tech include the coveted Robert E. Russ award for outstanding contribution to the growth, development, and recognition of Ruston and the Lincoln Parish area. He was named a James E. West Fellow for his support of the Boy Scouts of America and also received its Silver Beaver Award for extraordinary service.
Mr. Marbury has touched others through his integrity, generosity and caring spirit. “You consider yourself very lucky when someone enters your life and serves as a mentor,” Mr. Maxwell said. “My mentor to this day is William Marbury.”
Return to Distinguished Alumni Page