NFL Hall of Fame linebacker and Morgan State alumnus Willie Lanier returned to his alma mater today to deliver a lecture on business ethics. The lecture was the key event for the Grand Opening of the new Earl G. Graves School of Business.
Lanier donated half a million dollars to the school in hopes to help prepare future Black businessmen and women to venture into the corporate world.
The auditorium was filled with a large group that consisted of Morgan alum and current students, as well as the media. Lanier brought along some special guests, business guru Mark Gamble and five-time NFL Pro-Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent.
Both took time to reflect on Lanier the football player, but put more emphasis on Lanier the person.
“He wears his fame with humility” said Gamble, who gave Lanier his first shot in the business world after Lanier retired from football.
Vincent took time to speak on how Lanier motivated him to not only be a great football player, but a great business man.
“Willie allowed me to dream.”
After a formal introduction of praise and admiration from Morgan President David Wilson, Lanier addressed the crowd.
Lanier started his lecture by reflecting on his humble beginnings at Morgan, being a walk-on for the football team as a freshman.
Despite all of his accomplishments on the football field, Lanier stressed the importance of his education first. He shared stories with students about his college and NFL days, relating his struggles and journey to chasing his dreams.
“In the NFL I had five penalties in 11 years. In life you have to remove the penalties and mistakes you make,” said Lanier. “What could you do, how well could you do it and who could you become. That’s what it all boils down to.”
Being that Morgan’s population is primarily African-American, Lanier expressed the trials and tribulations he went through in sports and business as a man of color.
For just under an hour, Lanier combined life stories with gems of knowledge and tutelage that all in attendance could relate to.
After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, Lanier answered questions from the crowd. The questions ranged from politics to the current racial climate, which Lanier gracefully and professionally answering them all.
After receiving a second standing ovation, Lanier proceeded to take photos with those in attendance and answer more questions face-to-face.