Mannie Jackson's $3 Million Gift Adds Name to UI Basketball Hall of Fame
Jan. 29, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Mannie Jackson broke down barriers as a Fighting Illini basketball player and student-athlete in the 1950s, and is now helping lead the way in the Illinois Renaissance of State Farm Center with a $3 million gift in support of the Mannie L. Jackson University of Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame.
See more renderings at the Illinois Renaissance Website.
"I wanted to support Mike Thomas and his vision for the future of Fighting Illini Athletics," Jackson said. "I've always believed that athletics plays an important role in developing leaders, while also engaging alumni and supporters for the University. Mike and his staff have shown tremendous leadership and hard work during the planning to renovate State Farm Center, arguably the highest-profile building on this beautiful campus."
"Mannie and Cathy Jackson have touched the lives of so many, not only at the University of Illinois, but on a global level as well," UI Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said. "The Jacksons are outstanding role models for University of Illinois students and Fighting Illini student-athletes. It is with true pleasure, excitement, and pride to announce the Mannie L. Jackson University of Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame in his honor as he has contributed so much to the Fighting Illini men's basketball program and the sport of basketball both nationally and internationally."
"As a former student-athlete, corporate executive, philanthropist, Fighting Illini great, and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee as owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, we are honored Mannie and his wife, Cathy, have made a leadership gift commitment to support Illinois Athletics," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Rick Darnell.
Jackson and life-long friend and teammate Governor Vaughn were the first African-Americans to letter and start for the basketball team at the UI in the 1957-58 season. Jackson was named captain of the basketball team as a senior and earned All-America status in 1960 and All-Big Ten recognition in both 1959 and 1960 after finishing his Illini career as fifth-leading scorer in school history. He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from the UI in 1960, and upon graduation from Illinois he immediately received the National Science Fellowship, which allowed him to attend MIT and Bradley, which led him to Honeywell. These experiences changed the direction of his life. Jackson earned his MBA from the University of Detroit in 1968 and honorary doctorate degrees from Lincoln University, the oldest historical black college in the nation, in 2003, and UI in 2008. Jackson purchased the Harlem Globetrotters in 1993 following a long and distinguished career at Honeywell International, Inc., retiring as an Executive Officer, and revived the Globetrotter organization into a multi-million dollar business.
Jackson received the UI Alumni Achievement Award in 1996, and has served on the Board of Directors of Ashland, Inc., Reebok International, Stanley Works, Jostens and True North. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross and is the current Director of the UI Foundation Board. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Acorn Energy and Epic Diagnostics, on the Advisory Board of TransAmerica, and on the Executive Committee of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Jackson's support of the UI is long and storied. He helped create the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program in the College of Applied Health Sciences known as I-LEAP with a $2 million gift, and was a National Advocate for Campaign Illinois (1995-2000). Jackson was co-founder and first chair for the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), which is comprised of the most senior African-American corporate executive in Fortune 500 companies.
Jackson is also the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and recent author of "Boxcar to Board Rooms," a reflection of memories and travels as he ascended the corporate ladder.
Mannie and Cathy have two daughters, Candace and Cassandra. Jackson will be publicly recognized during the Illinois-Iowa men's basketball game at State Farm Center on Feb. 1.
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