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Detroit Influencers and Alumni to be Honored by Western Michigan University on September 27

Western Michigan University’s Board of Trustees and President Edward B. Montgomery are hosting a luncheon and ceremony on-campus for the trio of legendary alumni –  the late automotive executive Ronald Hall Sr., former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and entrepreneur Dr. William Pickard – to commemorate the official naming of two new residence halls, and unveil the upgraded signage within the Western Heights complex, Hall-Archer-Pickard West and Hall-Archer-Pickard East, and the Hall-Archer-Pickard Conference Room in Heritage Hall.

The alumni’s lasting friendship commenced while attending WMU in the 1960’s, as members of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first inter-collegiate African-American fraternity, all while sharing a special bond with common goals, true friendship, and powerful learning experiences along the way. Collectively, the three men impacted the State of Michigan throughout their post-graduate years at WMU, with accomplishments as follows: Hall served as president of the Michigan Minority Business Development Council (1992-1998) and later founded Detroit-based Bridgewater Interiors, LLC; Archer served on the Michigan Supreme Court, was elected Mayor of the City of Detroit and served two terms (1994-2001), and in addition was president of the State Bar of Michigan and American Bar Association; Pickard is an entrepreneur with many different ventures, as he was the executive director of the NAACP Detroit Branch – now executive board member – was among the nation’s first African American’s to own a McDonald’s franchise, is co-managing partner of MGM Grand Detroit Casino, and founded Detroit-based automotive manufacturing company, Global Automotive Alliance, LLC.

“With a passion for education and a life-long tie to Western Michigan University, I’m proud to give a gift in excess of $3.0M in honor of the naming of two new residence halls within the Western Heights Complex, Hall-Archer-Pickard West and Hall-Archer-Pickard East, and the Hall-Archer-Pickard Conference Room in Heritage Hall,” said Dr. William Pickard. “Speaking on behalf of Archer and the late Hall, we’re so thankful for our WMU experience and hope our names on campus facilities become a small reminder to current students of the importance of building meaningful relationships and taking full advantage of WMU’s extensive opportunities.”

To celebrate the naming of the two buildings in the Western Heights Complex, WMU is hosting a formal, invite-only luncheon and speaking program (12-1:30 p.m.), where guests will learn more about the Honoree’s, as well as the history on the development of the Western Heights Complex, and noteworthy qualities about these innovative student housing facilities. Shortly following the luncheon, guests will head to an outdoor, formal ceremony (2-3:30 p.m.) and will have a first-look at the new dormitory complex names and signage. The esteemed artist Gale Fulton Ross is creating multiple visual portraits of the honorees that will be displayed in and around the Hall-Archer-Pickard West and Hall-Archer-Pickard East residence halls and Hall-Archer-Pickard Conference Room in 2018. A prototype of the image will be on display at the ceremony.

The distinguished alumni – Hall, Archer and Pickard – are known nationwide as Detroit business and civic leaders, who went on to become WMU trustees, and in addition, are champions of young people and their positive contributions to society. To note, Pickard has gifted WMU with a range of scholarships and grants in the past, including to the late Hall and Charles C. Warfield, a $250,000 grant to launch a WMU Kalamazoo Public Schools Future Education Program, and a William F. Pickard Endowed Scholarship. Archer established the Dennis W. Archer Foundation, which has provided over one million dollars in scholarships to Detroit and Cassopolis high school students who matriculate at WMU or Wayne State University.

Each honoree has achieved a high level of success, in part due to their education at WMU, and the opportunity it presented to meet one another and build solid, meaningful relationships. The legacy of Hall, Archer and Pickard will live on at WMU, the State of Michigan and on a national level, for many generations to come.