SAN DIEGO – Dr. Coleman Furr, who founded the information technology institution Coleman University in San Diego nearly 50 years ago, passed away at 90, it was announced Wednesday.
Furr was surrounded by loved ones when he passed Monday at 10:40 a.m. at the Vie care facility in La Jolla.
Furr devoted himself to the computer industry for over six decades, from its beginnings to the current day’s sophisticated level of technology. He held a Doctor of Education from USIU (Alliant).
In 1946, Furr served in the U.S. Army in China for two years during World War II guiding convoys on a mountainous segment of the Burma Road. After his return from service, Furr trained at IBM, then became a manager of data processing with The Furr Company, a family-owned grocery business in Nebraska.
Later, he consulted with the government of Puerto Rico, where he was responsible for improving food distribution systems through the use of computers. While in Puerto Rico, Furr found that he could not find the qualified data processing personnel he needed to run the complex automated operations.
He saw one obvious solution to the dilemma: educate the staff himself. Thus, the early inspiration for Coleman College was conceived.
When he returned to the U.S., Furr was hired as controller at FedMart, the forerunner of Costco. He oversaw the installation of their first computer system and found that hiring competent people to operate computers was very difficult. As a result, Furr was determined to open a computer school.
In 1963, Coleman College was born along with the Coleman motto “Dreams into Reality” was fulfilled.
As founder and chairman of the Board of Coleman College, a private nonprofit accredited senior college, Furr established the premier information science undergraduate program in the country. In 1974, Coleman College was named by ComputerWorld Magazine as the “Best Data Processing School” in the country.
One of Dr. Furr’s famous quotes was, “Our finest accomplishment is happy graduates, a lot of them!”