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Dennis Hightower

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Information about Dennis Hightower

Profile image of Dennis Hightower

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Professor
Broadcast Executive

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Birthplace

Born:
10/28/1941
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Professor
Broadcast Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/28/1941
Birth Location:
Washington
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Biography

Broadcast executive and business professor Dennis Fowler Hightower was born on October 28, 1941 in Washington, D.C. to Marvin William Hightower and Virginia Fowler Hightower, an educator. After graduating from McKinley High School in 1958, Hightower attended Howard University where he earned his B.S degree in 1962. In addition to joining Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and being a college athlete, Hightower was the top graduating cadet of the Army ROTC university program.

After graduating from Howard University, Hightower was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he served as a platoon leader and company commander in the 101st Airborne Division. Afterwards, Hightower was trained as a counterintelligence officer and field operations intelligence officer, working in strategic and operational assignments in the United States and abroad. Hightower also served in Vietnam in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, where he was promoted to the rank of major. Hightower was awarded two Bronze Star medals, a Purple Heart, three Air Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, five Army Commendation Medals with distinction for valor, the Vietnam Honor Medal First Class, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

In 1970, Hightower was hired by Xerox as manager of organizational planning. He left his position there in 1972, when he was awarded a fellowship to attend Harvard Business School. He graduated in 1974 with his M.B.A. Hightower then joined McKinsey & Company and worked as a senior associate and engagement manager until 1978, when he was hired by General Electric’s Lighting Business Group. In 1987, Hightower was hired by The Walt Disney Company as vice president of Consumer Products for Europe, based in Paris, France, and later became president of Consumer Products for Europe, Middle East and Africa divisions. In 1995, he was promoted to president of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications.

Upon his retirement in 1996, Hightower joined the faculty of Harvard Business School, initially as a senior lecturer and then as a professor of management in the M.B.A. program. On August 11, 2009, Hightower was appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy secretary of commerce. Hightower was charged with general management duties until his tenure ended on August 27, 2010.

His numerous awards include the U.S. Department of Commerce Pioneer Award; Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award and Bert King Service Award; and an honorary doctorate degree and Alumni Achievement Award for Business from Howard University. He is a board member of Accenture, Ltd., Brown Capital Management, Domino’s Pizza, Inc. and Casey Family Programs, and a former trustee at Howard University.

Dennis Fowler Hightower was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2008.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes his parents' family backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his maternal grandparents' careers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower remembers his maternal great-grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower describes his paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower talks about the military career of his maternal uncle, James Fowler, Sr.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower describes his early neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower talks about his mother's teaching career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his experiences at Lucretia Mott Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower remembers his classmates, Charlene Drew Jarvis and Colonel Frederick Drew Gregory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower describes his early influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower remembers integrating McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower describes the African American community in Washington, D.C. during segregation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower talks about the intellectual African American community of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower remembers integrating McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower recalls his appointment to the United State Military Academy Preparatory School in West Point, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower remembers his high school principal, Charles E. Bish
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his experiences at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower recalls his social activities at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower remembers his classmates at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower describes Howard University's social hierarchy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower talks about Eddie C. Brown
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower recalls working for his father as a college student
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower remembers the civil rights activities at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower recalls the debate between Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower talks about his wife, Denia Stukes Hightower
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes his early career in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement during his military service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower recalls serving in the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower talks about his decision to leave the military
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower remembers applying to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower remembers applying to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower talks about the African American alumni of Harvard Business School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower recalls his classes at Harvard Business School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower remembers his classmates at Harvard Business School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower describes the political climate at Harvard Business School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dennis Hightower remembers prominent African American business executives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes the start of his career at McKinsey and Company and General Electric
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower remembers General Electric CEO Jack Welch
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower recalls facing racial discrimination as a businessman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower talks about the restructuring of Mattel, Inc.'s business
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower describes his work at Russell Reynolds Associates, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower talks about his working relationship with Frank Wells at The Walt Disney Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower recalls the changes to Disney characters in different countries
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower remembers his first impressions of Soweto, South Africa
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower recalls meeting Desmond Tutu, Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower recalls meeting with European royalty
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about the success of The Walt Disney Company throughout Europe
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower remembers Michael Eisner's leadership of The Walt Disney Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower talks about his disagreements with Michael Eisner
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower recalls debating with Michael Eisner over television programming
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower remembers protesting the re-release of 'Songs of the South'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower describes his discontent with Disney channel programming during his tenure
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower talks about his decision to teach at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower describes his teaching experiences at Harvard Business School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower talks about his career after leaving Harvard Business School
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower reflects upon his legacy