FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Date: November 16, 2001

Contact:  Donna McCracken

UIS grad receives alumni achievement award

LeRoy J. Walker, Jr., a 1981 graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield (then Sangamon State University), was presented with the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award during the Alumni Awards Dinner held November 2 on the UIS campus.

The award honors Walker for his “personal success in business and his hands-on commitment to creating a firm foundation on which young people can find their own success in life and attain their dreams.”

Walker currently owns and operates 14 McDonald's franchises in the metro Jackson, Mississippi, area and is involved with numerous efforts to support economic development and civic affairs in the community. In an attempt to ensure the educational success of the young people who work in his restaurants, Walker has developed programs including a contract between employees and their parents to maintain good grades. He routinely provides assistance in areas that range from obtaining dental care to shoes to tutors, and helps his young employees get into college. In recognition of these efforts he received the 1994 Gerry Newman McTLC Award.

Walker serves on civic, educational, and business organizations at the local, state, and national levels. He is also the founder of 100 Black Men of Jackson and vice president of the national organization which recruits successful black men to serve as role models and mentors to disadvantaged black teens.     

Before starting his business career, Walker taught science and mathematics for 12 years in the East St. Louis school system. He taught chemistry and geometry in the Lincoln high school system and coached football at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, serving as assistant coach and later as head coach.

He earned an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Tennessee State University and a master=s degree in Public Administration from UIS/SSU. He has also done post-graduate work in Educational Administration at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Walker and his wife, Terryce, are the parents of a daughter, Michelle.