Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is giving $500,000 to Morgan State University, his alma mater, to establish the Willie E. Lanier, Sr. Endowed Lectureship in Business Ethics.
Lanier racked up football accolades at MSU en route to earning a business degree from MSU in 1967, the same year he was drafted by the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. Acknowledged as the first African-American to start as middle linebacker in the NFL, Lanier anchored the defense that helped the Chiefs defeat the favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV in 1969.
Following his 11-year career in the NFL, Lanier went on to be president and CEO of Lanier Group LLC and senior advisor at Cary Street Partners.
“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,” Lanier said in a statement released by the university. “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.”
Lanier 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 School of Business and Management faculty who conducts research in business ethics.