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Business mogul to speak at UT for Black History Month

Dr. William F. Pickard will share his story of being the first person in his family to graduate from college and working to become one of the top businessmen in the country when he visits The University of Toledo as part of UT’s celebration of Black History Month.

He will speak 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 in Doermann Theatre.

Dr. William F. Pickard

Pickard is chair of Global Automotive Alliance, a co-managing partner of MGM Grand Detroit Casino, CEO of Bearwood Management Co., and co-owner of five newspapers.

“We are excited to have Dr. Pickard as our featured speaker this year,” David Young, UT director of Toledo Excel and Special Projects, said. “He will talk about achieving success despite the odds.”

Pickard’s career started with a McDonald’s franchise in Detroit. In 1989, he founded an automotive manufacturing company, which became Global Automotive Alliance. The holding company for some half dozen businesses has about 1,600 workers and approximately $500 million in sales. One of the nation’s leading minority-owned companies, Global Automotive Alliance supplies plastic parts to the top three automakers in the United States.

During his more than 40-year career, Pickard has mentored African-American business owners and published a book, “Millionaire Moves: Seven Proven Principles of Entrepreneurship.”

“I fully embrace the mantra: ‘Each one, reach one, teach one.’ These words get me fired up,” he wrote in the introduction of his 2017 book. “They also explain the purpose of this book. This is my way of saying that whatever I’ve done, you can do it, too.”

The entrepreneur and philanthropist shares his leadership skills on the board of the National Urban League and as a member of the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Pickard to be the first chair of the African Development Foundation, and President George Bush tapped him to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Trade Policy Negotiations in 1990.

Pickard received a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate from Ohio State University.

In addition to Pickard’s talk, the University will celebrate this year’s theme, “Embracing Our Power — Honoring Our History,” with several events during Black History Month. Listed by date, events will include:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5 — Black Student Union Comedy Show, 7 p.m., Thompson Student Union Ingman Room.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 6 — Jerome Jenkins, former basketball coach at California State University at Sacramento, will give a talk, “The War Within,” at 6:30 p.m. in Thompson Student Union Room 2592.
  • Thursday, Feb. 7 — Black History Month Film Series: “Moonlight,” 7:30 p.m., Center for Performing Arts Room 1039.
  • Monday, Feb. 11 — Step Afrika! will perform at 7 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. The dance company dedicated to the African-American tradition of stepping tours around the globe.
  • Thursday, Feb. 14 — Black History Month Film Series: “Creed,” 7:30 p.m., Center for Performing Arts Room 1039.
  • Friday, Feb. 15 — Dr. Derek Alderman, professor of geography at the University of Tennessee, will give a talk titled “The Maps Behind the Movement: African-American Freedom Struggles as Geographical Work” at 2:30 p.m. in Snyder Memorial Building Room 2110.
  • Thursday, Feb. 21 — Black History Month Film Series: “Pariah,” 7:30 p.m., Center for Performing Arts Room 1039.
  • Friday, Feb. 22 — Black Student Union Fashion Show, 6 p.m., Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Ticket prices to be announced.
  • Monday, Feb. 25 — “Black GirlZ Rock,” 6 p.m., Thompson Student Union Ingman Room. The National Pan-Hellenic Council will honor women on campus who have made an impact on UT students.
  • Thursday, Feb. 28 — Black History Month Film Series: “Get Out,” 7:30 p.m., Center for Performing Arts Room 1039.

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

is UT's Media Relations Specialist. Contact her at 419.530.2077 or
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