An alumnus of University School and East Tennessee State University has announced the creation of an endowment to support his alma mater as one of the top K-12 schools in the state and nation.

The A. Richard Wilson University School Endowment will provide resources for University School to supplement public funds in support of capital improvements, technology upgrades and maintenance, staff and faculty professional development and for scholarships for graduates attending ETSU.

Wilson credits the University School’s faculty with laying the foundation for his success in life and business. Keeping the University School among the top programs in the state and providing opportunities for faculty and students motivated him to establish this endowment.

“I went to school there along with my brothers and my sister, and the faculty at the University School when we were there were all just excellent. It was an incredibly special place to grow up and learn, and I want to make sure it stays that way well into the future,” Wilson said.

“I’m giving back to an institution that helped me become who I am, and it feels good knowing that it’s helping young people continue to succeed.”

Wilson, who resides in Houston, is a member of the University School Class of 1959 and graduated from ETSU in 1963. While a student at University School, he was a member of the baseball, basketball and track teams and was named “Best All-Around Athlete.” During his undergraduate career at ETSU, he played baseball, was president of the freshman class and was elected vice president and later president of the Student Government Association. Wilson was also active in a number of campus and community organizations.

He co-chaired the University Status Committee at the time the college achieved university status in 1963. That same year, he received the Wall Street Journal Economics Award.

A member of the ROTC, Wilson served in the U.S. Army as captain and officer-in-charge for Mississippi from 1964-66 and was later accepted at Harvard Business School, graduating in 1969.

He served as Vice President for Alodex Corp. (Memphis), where he coordinated a planned $400 million commercial complex in Chicago. Wilson later co-founded a venture capital firm called New South Investment Co. and was an initial investor of Federal Express Corp.

Wilson was active in politics, serving as chief election inspector for Memphis/Shelby County from 1972 until 1978 and serving as the campaign coordinator for Tennessee U.S. Rep. Bill Jenkins in 1996.

Upon moving to Houston, he became vice president of Harry R. Jones Co. and later senior investment broker with the Home Company, where he developed procedures for marking large income-producing properties and has marketed some $1 billion in real estate during his time in Houston.

In 1988, Wilson created The Property Group, a real estate investment and development firm and currently serves as President and CEO. Between 2005-20, he worked with corporations and investors to develop 1,500 apartment units and luxury condo units.

Wilson says he hopes his endowment will encourage other alumni to give back to the University School and ETSU.

“It’s important to give back,” he said. “It’s an investment in our legacy and East Tennessee’s future through the students who come through the University School and ETSU.”

For more information, contact Ben Weakley, director of development for Clemmer College, at weakleyj@etsu.edu or 423-439-7974.

Contributed to the Press

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