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Tuskegee Alumnus and Husband, CEO of Chemico Group, Donates $25,000 to Booker T. Washington Leadership Institute

August 26, 2020

Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Image of Dr. Booker T. Washington
Dr. Booker T. Washington

Tuskegee University received a one-time gift in the amount $25,000 – from the head of a certified chemical management supplier, Chemico Group, LLC.  

The gift from Leon Richardson, chief executive officer of Chemico, and his wife, Cheryl will be used to fund the Booker T. Washington Leadership Institute (BTWLI) at Tuskegee University. The Institute was launched in November 2019 with the express purpose of cultivating transformative leadership through a culture of excellence, inclusion, scholarship, and service learning.

“We are excited to partner with Tuskegee and the BTWLI to provide this type of support – our focus is on creating black wealth through many mechanisms, one of those is supporting HBCUs and tracking entrepreneurship,” said Leon.

Cheryl, who has ties to the university studied in the business school at Tuskegee in 1987 and she recalls her experience at Mother Tuskegee as lifechanging.

“I hold dearly many memories of being a Tuskegee student, but what always stood out the most was the life lessons and the impression the university left on me,” explained Cheryl. “We are honored to give back to the college that gave so much to me and it is our hope that our choice investment encourages others to do the same.”

“We know that through this opportunity future business leaders and engineers are being shaped and empowered right here at Tuskegee and we couldn’t think of a better way to assist by giving back,” she continued.

The Richardsons both agreed that the investment to BTWLI was an easy decision for them, as they both believe in keeping with the educational philosophy of Booker T. Washington to educate the “head, hand, and heart.

“This gift represents a commitment to investing in students’ lives and their professional careers after graduation,” Leon explained. “It is our hope that future engineers and business workers will be able to grow to their fullest potential. In doing so, this will provide an opportunity to help Tuskegee students assume future professional and leadership roles,” Leon noted.

“I couldn’t think of two better ambassadors for the institution, and I’m excited for the relationship that I know both Leon and Cheryl Richardson will bring,” noted Tuskegee University Board of Trustee Sylvester Hester. “The Richardsons have impacted countless lives through their businesses, philanthropy and volunteerism. And I respect Leon for his leadership and business acumen, I know that he will not only add immediate value to our university, but his efforts will strengthen our students’ academic success.”

“We are thrilled to receive this gift from the Richardsons, their donation will transform the BTWLI through remarkable investments in our students’ lives and professional careers,” said Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, institute leader and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Through the Richardsons philanthropy, Tuskegee’s BTWLI will remain one of Tuskegee’s exemplars for success.”

In all, the gift amount will fund five lectures that would be used for honoraria, marketing of the event, travel expenses for the experts, and related speaker and presenter expenses. Tuskegee would also welcome Leon and Cheryl an opportunity to serve as presenters during one of the five series.

About Chemico, LLC

Chemico specializes in providing an integrated solution for the chemical lifecycle – from sourcing and procurement, to lean hands-on management, through environmentally conscious disposal. Founded in 1989, the organization has continued to experience positive growth year over year since its inception. Chemico serves customers across a variety of industries including automotive, aerospace, biotech and pharmaceuticals. The company operates more than 50 sites throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Chemico’s past and current customers include General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Eaton, Toyota, Boeing, Amgen, Delphi and Honeywell.

About the Booker T. Washington Leadership Institute

The university launched the Booker T. Washington Leadership Institute to inspire even greater leadership potential on campus and further instill a culture excellence, inclusion, scholarship and service-learning. Initially, programming will be tailored for faculty and staff and geared toward exploring the impact of student learning and success.

Sessions are co-hosted by the Office of the Provost and Title III and is part of the 2019-20 Faculty Development Series. The workshops are themed around leveraging education and leadership — which include topics ranging from student learning to cultural change.

The institute’s leadership team includes Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, interim provost; Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Dr. Maria Calhoun of the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Shaik Jeelani, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School; and Dr. Thierno Thiam of the Department of History and Political Science.

© 2020, Tuskegee University