Clark Atlanta University’s newest board of trustee members are businessman William F. Pickard and entrepreneur John Hope Bryant.

Pickard is Chairman of Global Automotive Alliance, Co-Managing Partner at MGM Grand Detroit and CEO of Bearwood Management Company.

Bryant is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE Inc., Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company.

In a statement, university President George T. French said, the only way for CAU to prepare its students to be competitive and excel the world is by ensuring that the school’s leadership has a vested interest in student development and can provide students with opportunities that will open doors for them.

Recently, Clark’s School of Business Administration named Bryant their inaugural Entrepreneur Scholar in Residence.

“This past year has confronted the world with an unprecedented set of challenges, and I look forward to helping the University enter a new chapter with the benefit of lessons learned— and with a commitment to making Clark Atlanta University stronger than ever,” said Bryant in a statement to the press.

Bryant was also instrumental in the Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s 2016 decision to rename the Treasury Annex Building to the Freedman’s Bank Building. The name honor’s the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, chartered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 to aid the millions of newly freed slaves in becoming financially literate and secure.

Earlier this year Pickard made a $100,000 donation to the United Negro College Fund for students at CAU, St. Augustine University and Philander Smith College.

“Since 1865, this institution has developed a rich history of serving Black Americans. I am grateful and honored to have an opportunity to make a contribution and to maximize the impact that the University has had in the community as well as with the students,” Pickard said to The Atlanta Voice.

Pickard was named Honorary Consul in Detroit by the Government of the Bahamas in 2020. His duties in the role include promoting business, tourism, education and industry in an unofficial role.

His business expertise is something Pickard is excited to share in his new role on the board of trustees.

“I hope to guide the next generation of CAU students around some of the hurdles and through some of the obstacles they will inevitably face. Business is cyclical and while technology has changed the way we do things, the values that form the foundation of business remain the same: Excellence, Integrity and Commitment,” said Pickard.

Madeline Thigpen is an education reporter and Report for America Corps Member. She joined the Atlanta Voice in 2021. At the Voice she covers K-12 education for the Atlanta metro region and higher education....