BALTIMORE — Morgan State University (MSU) announced a major financial commitment from one of the University’s favorite sons, a $500,000 gift to establish the Willie E. Lanier, Sr. Endowed Lectureship in Business Ethics in the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management (SBM). Lanier is a 1967 graduate of Morgan and a standout football player in both his collegiate and professional careers. He also has made his mark in business as the president and CEO of Virginia-based Lanier Group LLC.
“Life provides you with opportunities to reflect upon the values and principles that have come to define who you are, and allows you the space to determine what is important,” said Willie E. Lanier, senior advisor, Cary Street Partners, and president of Lanier Group LLC. “I attended Morgan for the education and to cultivate a relationship with the university. Athletics provided the means for my education. Committing to this lectureship allows me to build upon the things I learned as a student in the business school and make a positive contribution to an area that touches all aspects of what we do in life— ethics.”
“This endowment is a testament to Mr. Lanier’s commitment to academic excellence in the area of business and we are very fortunate to be the recipients of his generosity,” said Dr. Fikru Boghossian, dean of the School of Business and Management. “Faculty members will be able to use this endowment to support the study of business ethics, further demonstrating Morgan’s dedication to ethical practices and strengthening its reputation for ethics scholarship.”
Lanier earned a degree in business and administration from MSU in 1967. He had an outstanding college football career at Morgan playing for legendary head coach Earl Banks. Following a stellar professional athletic career in the National Football League, Lanier was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He was twice selected to the Small College Football All-American team and was the second-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1967 NFL draft. Considered the first African American player to star in the position of middle linebacker, Lanier is recognized as one of the NFL’s “100 Greatest Football Players.”
“Willie Lanier provides an exceptional example of how Morgan State University graduates continue to make great contributions in their post-collegiate careers while also recognizing and supporting the foundation of their success,” said Morgan President David Wilson. “With this half-million dollar endowment, Morgan will be able to expand upon the efforts of our School of Business and Management to cultivate a climate of ethical business practices in boardrooms across America.”
Lanier, who resides in his native Virginia where he manages the successful Lanier Group LLC investment firm, serves as chair of the Morgan State University Foundation, which will administer the new endowed lectureship. Beginning in 2016, the lectureships will provide a two-year award to provide supplemental financial assistance to a selected member of the SBM faculty who conducts research in business ethics.