Detroit Area Business Leader Commits $250,000 to Scholarship Program at WVSU

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
March 5, 2014
Detroit Area Business Leader Commits $250,000 to Scholarship Program at WVSU

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – A long-time Detroit area business leader, Dr. William F. Pickard, has committed $250,000 in support of the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Program at West Virginia State University (WVSU).  Pickard serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Detroit-based Global Automotive Alliance, LLC, a consortium of automotive-related companies with operations in 12 states.

Announced last fall, the Scholars Program is named in honor of WVSU alumnus, Judge Damon J. Keith, who has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 1977. In addition to the Scholars Program, a new residence hall currently under construction at WVSU is being named in honor of Judge Keith.

“I am making this gift for two reasons,” said Pickard.  “First, your University has chosen to recognize my dear friend and mentor, the Honorable Damon J. Keith, with a newly constructed building named in his honor as well as a scholarship fund that bears his name. Second, I have been so impressed with Dr. Brian O. Hemphill’s leadership as President of the University.”

The new Keith Scholars Program is designed to support scholarships for students from Detroit area public schools. The scholarship, renewable for up to four years as long as requirements are met, covers room and board, tuition and fees and textbooks.

“I am delighted and honored that my friend, Dr. William Pickard, has made a commitment of $250,000 to the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Program at West Virginia State University.  I hope others will follow,” Judge Keith said.  “I want to second Dr. Pickard’s congratulations to Dr. Brian O. Hemphill.  He is an exceptional leader, doing an outstanding job at my beloved alma mater.”

Students chosen as Keith Scholars must possess a record of academic excellence while exhibiting a social-equality perspective of the world that exemplifies a personal commitment to selfless deeds, scholarship and love for humankind.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Pickard for his support of the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Program,” said President Hemphill. “His contribution will enable future generations of young men and women from the Detroit area to find their passion at West Virginia State University just as Judge Keith did.”

Those interested in learning more about contributing to the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Program or making a bequest to West Virginia State University should contact, Patricia Schumann, Vice President for University Advancement and President of the WVSU Foundation Inc., at (304) 766-3021 or
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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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