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October 17, 2007

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS DONATES $100,000

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA ~ President Ivory V. Nelson has announced that alumnus and retired entrepreneur Gary Michelson has made a $100,000 donation to Lincoln University, one of the largest individual gifts in school history.

According to President Nelson, the gift establishes the Gary Michelson Executive Lecture Series, a program that will enable the university to bring distinguished corporate executives to campus to share their expertise with students.

“Gary has always expressed his love for Lincoln University and his deep concern for the success of our students,” President Nelson said. “His gift is a tremendous show of support and we are excited about the benefits it will bring to our students.” 

Michelson graduated from Lincoln University in 1966 and was a captain of the baseball team as a senior and a standout on the wrestling team for four years.

“Lincoln University played a very important part of my life,” Michelson said. “And I wanted to get involved and do something that would impact the lives of students who attend this great university.”

Added Michelson: “Lincoln University taught me humility and patience. I believe all graduates should think about what their legacy will be because they all have a responsibility to stay involved.”

Michelson began his professional career as a financial trainee with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Pottstown, Pa. After a year with Firestone, he moved to IBM as a sales trainee in New York City.

In 1968, he was assigned his first sales territory at IBM.  He remained with IBM for 18 years and distinguished himself as both salesman and manager. He was recognized as Rookie of the Year and earned distinction as Salesman of the Year and twice was named an officer in IBM’s One Hundred Percent Club.

In 1973, he achieved the company’s highest sales award and was honored as president of an exclusive group of high performers. He also gained recognition as the nation’s top sales manager at three progressive levels of management from 1975 through 1983.

Ascending through the ranks in field management, Michelson was placed in a product management position where he launched a number of creative new products and innovative programs considered by senior management and customers to be among some of the most comprehensive and unique ever introduced to the market by IBM.

In 1984, Michelson joined Brown Disc, a Colorado Springs company, an IBM supplier. At Brown, he served as vice president of sales and marketing for the magnetic media manufacturer. 

Michelson was inspired to become an entrepreneur and started his first business, Liberty Sales and Marketing Group, an enterprise that brokered wire, cable and accessories into the low-voltage electronics markets. Partnering with an organization in Chicago, he became a hybrid manufacturer’s representative and distributor in the same product category in 1987.

Four years later, he terminated his partnership and formed Liberty Wire and Cable, Inc.  Liberty’s initial focus remained in the low-voltage market but soon became involved in a new fledgling industry, which included a wide range of home entertainment products.

To grow his business profitably, Michelson executed a plan to enter the commercial and broadcast industries. His company eventually reached over $26 million in sales.

Though retired, Michelson remains an investor and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of River Associates, a private equity group based in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Founded in 1854, Lincoln University is a premier, historically Black University that combines the best elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based undergraduate core curriculum and selected graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly technological and global society.  The University is nationally recognized as a major producer of African Americans with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences (biology, chemistry and physics); computer and informational sciences; biological and life sciences.  Lincoln has an enrollment of 2,423 undergraduate and graduate students.

Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
1570 Baltimore Pike, P.O. Box 179, Lincoln University, PA 19352 \ (484) 365-8000