Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Dr. William Pickard to the Western Michigan University board of trustees.
The eight-person board is the governing body of the University.
“William brings decades of experience to the board, and I am confident he will do substantial work to ensure the success of the University,” said Snyder.
Pickard is the chairman and chief operating officer of Global Automotive Alliance and 1964 alumnus of WMU.
He will serve the remainder of an eight-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2020 following the recent death of trustee Ronald E. Hall.
Hall was an entrepreneur and a leader in business and civic organizations.
Pickard and Hall were friends who attended WMU together, and both served as board members for Real Times Media, Inc. the parent company for the Michigan Chronicle.
“We were the nucleus of men who reestablished Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity on the campus,” said Pickard. He said through this experience he was able to forge relationships with many people, including his first business partner, Raymond Snowden.
“It is a high honor to serve on the board of trustees, but it’s even more meaningful and symbolic when you are following in the footsteps of Mr. Ron E. Hall,” said Pickard. “He served with distinction.”
Pickard is the only African American currently serving on the board. He said he has had unique experiences in entrepreneurship and academia that gave him “key insight to the opportunities and challenges facing today’s universities.”
Pickard said he is excited to learning more about the university’s medical school, making sure first-generation and diverse students retain access to education, and preparing all students for entrepreneurship in a modern workforce.
“It is our responsibility to represent the perspective of all students,” said Pickard. “We are there to serve all WMU students.”
Pickard is a well-known entrepreneur.
He launched Global Automotive Alliance in 1999, which operates six manufacturing entities in the United States and Canada.
He focuses on innovative business development, team building and long-term strategic planning in his various enterprises.
“I’ve had the pleasure to meet with the president, John Dunn, said Pickard. “I am impressed with his energy and his commitment to having a diverse student body and efforts to provide a quality and 21st century education for all of his students.”
Pickard said he looks forward to contributing to those efforts.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from WMU, a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.
In 1980, Pickard was honored as a WMU Distinguished Alumnus.
Pickard is also a member to many business, community and civic organizations.
In 2002, he was honored by the Detroit News as Michiganian of the Year for his mentorship of new entrepreneurs and his leadership at Global Automotive and with various civic, community and business organizations.
Pickard is a member of Business Leaders for Michigan and serves on the board of the National Urban League. He is on the executive board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and he also serves as a trustee of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
In 2010, Hour Detroit Magazine honored him as a Detroiter of the Year for leadership and philanthropy, particularly in the areas of the arts, education and entrepreneurship.
Pickard has taught at University of Michigan’s business school and at Wayne State University.
His appointment to the board of trustees is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.