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story.lead_photo.caption Julian Stewart

Julian Stewart, a philanthropist and businessman who played a major role as a fundraiser and donor to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, passed away Monday, the university announced. He was 83.

He died in Springdale after complications from quintuple-bypass surgery and Type 2 diabetes, said his daughter, Elizabeth Plummer.

Stewart served as co-chairman of the executive committee for the university's Campaign for the 21st Century, which raised $1.046 billion in gifts and pledges by the time it ended in 2005.

He and his wife, Nana, committed $2 million for scholarships and fellowships as part of the campaign. Gifts to UA included $1 million announced in 2013 to support the engineering college, among other gifts supporting students.

The couple had a home in Rogers while mostly living in San Antonio, where Stewart took on leadership roles with various organizations, including the American Heart Association and Baptist Health System.

John White, former chancellor for UA, estimated that 100 UA students have received scholarship awards tied to gifts from the Stewarts, both UA graduates.

"It was all about students for them," said White, a longtime friend.

"I think a lot of that was him growing up as he did, with parents who didn't have a lot, and he had to work hard and his brothers had to work hard for him to get what he got," said White, who knew the Stewart brothers dating back to when he and they attended UA.

A Fayetteville native, Stewart lived at home with his parents until earning his degree in civil engineering in 1957.

"There aren't too many kids who can say they could walk to school from the first grade through their senior year in college," Stewart told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2006.

He met his wife, the former Nana Bachtel, while attending UA.

Stewart served for three years in the U.S. Air Force, then took jobs with companies including IBM, where he took early retirement in 1987, and Frost Bank. He then worked as a self-employed investor.

Honors for Stewart included being named in 2006 to Fayetteville Schools Hall of Honor and being named to UA's College of Engineering Hall of Fame in 2010.

White described Stewart as "very conscientious," as well as a leader.

"He wound up chairing just about everything he got involved in because he had such strong leadership abilities," White said.

John English, dean of UA's College of Engineering, spoke about Stewart's commitment to students. He and Nana hosted a luncheon at the UA campus for scholarship recipients this fall.

"He invested his life in these people," English said.

During the Campaign for the 21st Century, Stewart held a leadership role in helping the university land major donations, White said.

"He had no reluctance to ask people to step up and make a financial contribution, because he saw what impact it had in the lives of students," White said.

Stewart also served as a Baptist church deacon and helped raise funds for an education building for Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, according to a 2006 profile in the Democrat-Gazette.

From 1998-2000, Stewart was chairman of the board of trustees for Baptist Health System, a health care provider in south Texas, according to the 2006 Democrat-Gazette article.

Stewart volunteered in leadership roles both in San Antonio and with the Texas statewide affiliate of the American Heart Association, said Midge Epstein, executive vice president of the American Heart Association's Southwest Affiliate.

In 1985, Stewart was chairman of the association's statewide Texas affiliate, Epstein said.

"As a result of his outstanding leadership, Mr. Stewart was elected as an honorary life member of the board. We are indebted to Julian Stewart for his lifetime of service to the community in both San Antonio and Northwest Arkansas," Epstein said.

Metro on 12/29/2017

Print Headline: Donated to, helped raise funds for UA

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