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Prime Osborn III

Academy of Achievement

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Prime Osborn III

Prime Osborn III

Academy of Achievement

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Prime F. Osborn III was the Founding Board Chairman of CSX Corporation, the nation's largest railroad system. He arrived at the University of Alabama in 1932 at the depth of the Great Depression, with 65 cents in his pocket. Osborn worked at the registrar's office and supplemented his income with a laundry route. He played a key role in many phases of college life, and graduated from law school in 1939, then became an assistant attorney general for the State of Alabama. He entered the U.S. Army in 1941, and was discharged five years later as a highly decorated lieutenant colonel after serving in the field artillery in Guam, Saipan, and Iwo Jima. Osborn began his railroad career in 1946 as an attorney and quickly rose to the top executive ranks, specializing in railroad mergers. He emerged as the engineer of an industrial complex, which was described as one of the most remarkable success stories in American business. Osborn helped merge the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad with the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1967, which acquired the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1972. He was a leader in the merger of Seaboard and Chessie System in 1980 that formed CSX Corporation. Osborn was also a devoted civic leader and was chosen as Jacksonville, Florida's "Man of the Year" where the downtown convention center is named in his honor. Prime Osborn addressed the student delegates at the 1982 Achievement Summit in New Orleans, and spoke about his three personal commitments that have guided him in life.

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