AHS Honors Mannie Jackson
The College of Applied Health Sciences presented Mannie Jackson with the AHS Distinguished Alumni Award in a ceremony held on October 27.
Mr. Jackson is chairman and managing partner of Boxcar Holdings LLC. He also is director and president of the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation. The center, located at Lewis and Clark Community College in Edwardsville, Illinois, works to bring about positive social change while promoting understanding and respect among people of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions.
Among his many contributions to sports, business, and philanthropy, Mr. Jackson broke the color barrier at Illinois along with longtime friend Govoner Vaughn, becoming the first African Americans to earn varsity letters as members of the Fighting Illini basketball team. Mr. Jackson also served as the first African American captain of the team. He played basketball professionally as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters before embarking on a business career, first with General Motors and then with Honeywell, from which he retired as international senior vice president of marketing, administration, and logistics.
Prior to retiring, Mr. Jackson had bought the struggling and nearly-bankrupt Globetrotters, becoming the first African American to own a major sports franchise. Within three years, he had restored the team to international fame and financial solvency, while making them a leader in charitable giving. Philanthropy has always been important to Mannie Jackson. In addition to the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, he co-created the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program in the College of Applied Health Sciences. The program helps first-generation and underrepresented college students achieve academic success through a comprehensive program of support.
“I like being called a philanthropist,” Mr. Jackson said in accepting his award. “You can buy cars and homes and clothes and travel, but when you go, that stuff is nothing. When you help others and improve the world, when you go, the memory of what your family meant to the world and what you tried to accomplish lives forever.”
In addition to the Distinguished Alumni Award, Mr. Jackson has been honored with the Order of Lincoln, the State of Illinois’ highest honor; the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor of the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.