Purdue dedicates renovated, newly named Roland G. Parrish library

April 27, 2012

Students take advantage of the café and gathering area in the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics. Parrish, a former Boilermaker student-athlete who is president, CEO and owner of Parrish McDonald's Restaurants Ltd. in north Texas, provided a $2 million leadership gift to support the $4.2 million renovation project. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University dedicated the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics during an event on Friday (April 27).

Parrish, a former Boilermaker student-athlete who is president, CEO and owner of Parrish McDonald's Restaurants Ltd. - a chain of 25 stores in North Texas - provided a $2 million leadership gift to support the $4.2 million renovation project. The former Management and Economics Library, located in the Krannert Building, reopened earlier this year and is now named in his honor.

"Roland's gift provided an important space that offers students an enhanced area to study and collaborate on projects," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "We are grateful for his commitment to student learning."

The Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics bears distinction as Purdue's first major campus facility named in honor of an African-American alumnus. It stands as a prototype state-of-the-art library. The Learning Lab, a 40-seat interactive space on the second-floor of the Krannert Building, has transformed classroom space into a collaborative environment equipped with smart-board technologies and group workspaces. The renovation, completed in three phases, also includes team collaboration media stations, a multimedia production center, two semiprivate group-study rooms and a business information mini-classroom to support the accounting and finance curriculum. A coffee shop and a commons area also were added.

"Purdue helped me get where I am in life today, so I am honored to be in a position to help others achieve their dreams," said Parrish, whose company consistently makes Black Enterprise magazine's BE 100 as one of the Top 100 Black Owned Businesses in the United States.

Roland Parrish

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He also is chair and CEO of the National Black McDonald's Owner's Association, a 40-year-old organization with $3.5 billion in sales and 1,400 restaurants.

Parrish arrived at Purdue in 1971 on a full athletic scholarship, thanks to his success as a Hammond, Ind., high school All-American in track and field and his Indiana state title in the 800-meter run. He lettered four years on Purdue's track and field team, served as team captain in his senior year, and was voted MVP twice by his teammates. He was the first student recruited by his mentor, Cornell Bell, into Krannert's then-fledging Business Opportunity Program. The program is designed to create a more diverse student body and launch business and community leaders.

He also performed in the Black Voices of Inspiration singing group at Purdue. Applying his athletic discipline to academics, he made the dean's list seven out of eight semesters.

In addition to the library, Parrish supports Purdue Athletics and the Krannert School. He also donated funds for the Lambert Fieldhouse scoreboard and a scholarship in memory of Bell. Another scholarship supports students through the Black Cultural Center.

Parrish was honored in October 2010 with a Pinnacle Award, the highest recognition for philanthropic contributions to Purdue, and was named a Krannert Outstanding Alumnus in October 2011. He also has received Krannert's Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Award.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Source: France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu