ATLANTA— Dr. William F. Pickard and Judson W. Pickard Jr. have donated $2 million to Morehouse College to fund a new scholarship for students who live in three Midwestern cities and LaGrange, Georgia, their childhood hometown.
The gift to Morehouse College will launch the creation of the Pickard Scholars Program to recruit and support Morehouse students from LaGrange, the greater Cincinnati area, and the greater Detroit and Flint, Michigan areas.
“We are committed to helping African American men thrive as leaders, scholars, and future businessmen,” said Judson W. Pickard on behalf of the Pickard Family. “Morehouse College’s mission is focused on developing men who are committed to academic excellence, community service, and leadership. This partnership aligns with our family’s vision and values on the impact of historically black colleges on student success.”
Judson Pickard has been in the restaurant industry for 40 years. He and his family own and operate a number of McDonald’s franchises in the greater Cincinnati area. He began that business after serving as a Milwaukee Public Schools teacher and a project manager for the Detroit Urban League. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Lane College and three sons, two of whom graduated from Morehouse College.
Dr. William Pickard, a philanthropist and author who has a PhD from The Ohio State University, began his 47-year entrepreneurial career as a McDonald’s franchise owner in Detroit. He is CEO of Bearwood Management McDonald’s, as well as co-managing partner for MGM Grand Detroit Casino.
In addition, Dr. Pickard serves as chairman and founder of the multi-billion-dollar business enterprise GAA Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management and GAA New Ventures. Since its founding in 1989, GAA has generated more than $5 billion dollars in sales with eight plants in the U.S. and Canada, and services corporations such as Boeing, Mercedes Benz, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Delphi, Johnson Controls, Starbucks, Home Depot, and Merck Pharmaceutical.
As a nationally respected entrepreneur, Dr. Pickard was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first Chairman of the African Development Foundation in 1982. Eight years later, he was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Trade Policy Negotiations by then-President George Bush.
“We appreciate the generous support of the Pickard family,” said David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. “This gift will help our students from LaGrange, Georgia and the greater Detroit, Flint and Cincinnati areas to get the financial help necessary to afford a Morehouse education and stay in school until they complete their graduation requirements. We are honored to partner with the Pickard family and applaud their work in the community as entrepreneurs and philanthropists.”
Felicia Murphy-Phillips, senior leadership gifts officer at Morehouse College, said the scholarship will have an important impact on the lives of men of Morehouse.
“When donors give significant gifts for student scholarships, it helps the students realize their dreams faster,” Murphy-Phillips said.
The Office of Institutional Advancement is developing a giving strategy to attract additional major donations from Morehouse supporters, including individual, nonprofit, and corporate donors. The giving strategy will lay the framework for the launch of a successful capital campaign to address the priorities of the Office of the President, which include: creating the campus of the future, funding student scholarships and faculty research, improving campus facilities and infrastructure, and offering transformative educational opportunities for students.
“As the nation’s only historically black college for men, Morehouse College has a legacy that is unparalleled,” said Monique Dozier, Vice President of the Office of Institutional Advancement. “The College has produced leaders and game-changers in every discipline. Supporting educational opportunities at this fine institution provides first generation college students and other scholars with financial needs a path to success that will impact future generations.