Alabama Academy of Honor


Joseph Sam Bruno

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1985.



Born in Birmingham, Alabama, October 3, 1912, Joseph S. Bruno began his business career in the city of his birth with one retail store. Possessing an inborn ability to merchandise coupled with boundless energy, Mr. Bruno's business grew to such an extent that it became wise to form Bruno's Inc. At the time of his induction into the Academy, his firm and associated companies operated more than 100 units in four states with annual sales volume approximating one billion dollars.

During the years of expanding business interest, Joe Bruno was constantly aware of an opportunity to contribute to the welfare and happiness of his fellow man.

Although Mr. Bruno, the son of an Italian immigrant, did not have the advantage of a college education, he nevertheless invested freely with his native ability and his means to assist in providing excellence in education for those who are willing to strive for such benefits.

Birmingham-Southern College elected Joe Bruno to membership on its Board of Trustees. His usefulness in this capacity was recognized by his associates who chose to confer upon him the college's Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Mr. Bruno accepted an invitation to serve on the Board of Governors of St. Bernard College. He was honored by this institution of learning when they awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has been the recipient of his good judgement as a result of his serving as a member of the President's Cabinet at that institution.

As his business interests increased so did his willingness to cooperate with others who were likewise engaged. He has been active in the Alabama Retail Association as well as in the Better Business Bureau.

As an active member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, he participated in its various programs. Other religiously oriented drives have also received his vigorous support.

Many civic and humane crusades have benefited from his energetic leadership among them being the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society.

Mr. Bruno was a Director of SouthTrust Bank N.A. in Birmingham where his financial expertise is frequently sought.

In May of 1980, Joseph Sam Bruno had conferred upon him the prestigious Horatio Alger Award.

He and his wife, Theresa Rosato Bruno, had two daughters. He is now deceased.