Roscoe Hightower, head of FAMU faculty union, dies at 58

Photo of Roscoe Hightower
Photo courtesy: Tallahassee Democrat

Roscoe Hightower, Jr., president of the United Faculty of Florida-FAMU chapter and one of the most esteemed professors at Florida A&M, died Aprili 4 at his home in Tallahassee. He was 58.His sister told the Tallahassee Democrat that the seemingly healthy professor died of natural causes.

A towering figure in academia, Hightower’s impact extended far beyond the classroom, leaving an indelible mark on the fields of marketing and facility management.

Hightower hailed from the vibrant South Miami-Dade community of Goulds, where he cultivated a passion for education and knowledge from an early age. Graduating from Miami Southridge Senior High School, his proficiency in calculus and trigonometry set the stage for his academic journey. He embarked on his higher education pursuit at FAMU, enrolling in the School of Business and Industry program with a major in business administration.

During his time at FAMU, Hightower’s commitment to academic excellence and leadership was evident as he was initiated into the esteemed Omega Psi Phi Upsilon Psi Chapter in the fall of 1985. His dedication propelled him to excel, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from FAMU.

According to a few of Hightower’s students, current and previous, he was known as “charismatic” and “comedic” to those who were fortunate enough to have him as their instructor.

In pursuit of further academic enrichment, Hightower ventured into the corporate world, accepting a position with IBM. However, his passion for academia beckoned him back.

In 1997, he attained his Ph.D. at Florida State University and swiftly transitioned into the realm of higher education. The University of Akron in Ohio recognized his potential, appointing him as an assistant professor of marketing.

Hightower’s journey came full circle when he returned to FAMU in 2000, assuming the same role as assistant professor of marketing. Over the years, his expertise and dedication earned him promotions, culminating in his appointment as [professor of marketing in 2012. His crowning achievement came in 2015 when he was named the Centennial Eminent Scholar Chair and Professor of Marketing & Facility Management, a testament to his unparalleled contributions to academia.

Beyond his academic accolades, Hightower’s influence extended globally. He served as the European Facility Management Association Ambassador to the USA, a pioneering role that underscored his international reputation as a thought leader in facility management.

Ira W. Bates, chair of Accounting, Finance, and Business Law at FAMU, reflected on Hightower’s impact as a colleague and friend. He noted the profound influence Hightower had on both students and faculty alike.

“Dr. Hightower was a great friend and colleague with a huge personality. He was an advocate for both students and faculty. His leadership in developing the facilities management major created numerous opportunities for students and his tireless work with the UFF-FAMU benefited all faculty members. He was a wonderful person, and a devoted father and he will be sorely missed,” Bates said.

Hightower’s impact was not confined to his professional endeavors; he was a devoted father to two daughters, Asia Bre’onna Hightower, and Jane Rosa Hightower.

In a statement released by the university, a wake/view will be held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Old West Enrichment Center, 2344 Lake Bradford Road. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.