CEO of Sanderson Farms, Inc. Joe Sanderson, Jr. and his wife Kathy donated $1 million to the Alcorn State University Foundation, Inc. Walter Washington Scholarship Endowment to aid students with their academic needs. The donation is the largest individual gift in Alcorn’s 145-year history.
The donation was inspired by the Sanderson’s connection to Alcorn’s longest tenured president, Dr. Walter Washington. The couple began with a more than $500,000 donation in late December with plans to fulfill the gift within the next five years.
“Dr. Washington worked for my grandfather and alongside my father when he was a teenager at my grandfather’s vegetable packing plant in Hazlehurst, Mississippi,” Sanderson said. “He did that for several years to save money so that he could attend college. My grandfather and Sanderson Farms supported Dr. Washington during his tenure at Utica Junior College and Alcorn. We continue to support the academic mission of Alcorn to this day.”
“Through their gift, the Sanderson family is helping deserving Alcorn students realize their dreams,” President Alfred Rankins Jr. said. “Alcorn is grateful for their generous gift and history of enormous support for our students and the university.”
Sanderson added, “Kathy and I decided to make this donation in memory of Dr. Washington because of his contribution to the state of Mississippi and the contributions Alcorn continues to make for the state.”
For Ralph and Earlene Washington, the gift will ensure that Alcorn students achieve their academic goals.
“The entire Washington Family would like to extend our sincere thanks to Mr. Joe Sanderson of Sanderson Farms and his wife Kathy for their generous contribution to the Dr. Walter Washington Scholarship Fund at Alcorn. This investment will allow the University to continue to educate students to reach heights beyond where Dr. Washington could have ever imagined.”
Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the ASU Foundation Marcus Ward expressed his gratitude for the endowed funding.
“The Sandersons are true philanthropists who are setting a wonderful example for others to follow,” Ward said. “We have enjoyed working with Mr. Sanderson, his staff and the Washington family over the last year to secure this extremely generous gift. This historic commitment will provide significant financial assistance to Alcorn students for years to come. It will help the University to strengthen its student body and endowment – the foundation of our success.”