Clark Atlanta University Announces New Appointments to Board of Trustees


ATLANTA, GA (March 9, 2022) – Clark Atlanta University announces William F. Pickard, Ph.D., Chairman of Global Automotive Alliance, Co-Managing Partner, MGM Grand Detroit, CEO, Bearwood Management Company and co-owner of five black-owned newspapers, and John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Operation HOPE, Inc, Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company, an American entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist, join the Clark Atlanta University (CAU) Board of Trustees.  
The newly appointed trustees will join the governing body responsible for developing and approving the university’s mission, strategic goals, and objectives. The board also establishes policies related to programs and services.
“The momentum continues at Clark Atlanta University as we tirelessly work to provide a world class education for our scholars, to prepare them to excel and be competitive among the top students in, not just our country but, the world. We can only accomplish this goal by ensuring that our leadership have a vested interest in student development and can assist us with providing our scholars with preeminent opportunities that will open doors for them in all industries,” said President George T. French Jr., Ph.D.  
Dr. Pickard is known for creating a new generation of entrepreneurs with Millionaire Moves – Seven Proven Principles of Entrepreneurship, vision/attitude, opportunity, relationships, talent/skillset, financial, failure and faith. His forty-five-year entrepreneurial career began as a McDonald’s franchise in Detroit, Michigan. Since its founding the Global Automotive Alliance, (GAA) has generated more than $5 billion dollars in sales with eight plants in the U.S. and Canada.  Pickard has served on several non-profit and business boards including Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation, Michigan National Bank, LaSalle Bank, Business Leaders for Michigan, National Urban League, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce and is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. 
"I am honored to join the Board of Trustees for Clark Atlanta University, an institution with such a long history of excellence in higher education. Without a doubt CAU is an example of how to produce notable graduates who change the world. It has and continues to be a model of service within higher education,” said William F. Pickard, Ph.D. “My pledge is to continue in the tradition of visionary and servant leadership as shown by a former son of LaGrange, GA – Mr. John Thomas King,  who served this great institution as a trustee from 1870 to 1920."
Mr. Bryant, considered by many Fortune 500 CEOs as ‘a conscious on capitalism,’ is a prominent thought leader on financial literacy, financial inclusion, economic empowerment and financial dignity. He has most recently been named one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Most Influential Atlantans” and one of Georgia Trend Magazines’ “Notable Georgians”. Bryant is the chairman and chief executive officer of Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company, the largest for-profit minority-controlled owner of institutional-quality, single-family residential rental homes in the U.S.  Both Operation HOPE and The Promise Homes Company have experienced explosive growth under Bryant’s leadership, 553% from 2014-2018, and 303% from May 2017 to present, respectively.  Five past U.S. presidents have recognized his work, and he has served as an advisor to three former sitting U.S. presidents, from both political parties. He is responsible for financial literacy becoming the policy of the U.S. federal government, and is the only American citizen to cause the renaming of a building on the White House campus, changing the name of the US Treasury Annex Building to the Freedman’s Bank Building, in honor of the Freedman’s Bank of 1865, chartered to ’teach freed slaves about money,’ or the financial literacy of that day and age.
“This past year has confronted the world with an unprecedented set of challenges, and I look forward to helping the University enter a new chapter with the benefit of lessons learned— and with a commitment to making Clark Atlanta University stronger than ever,” said John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE. “Together, our efforts will connect, support and empower CAU graduates who are serving their communities and continuing the centuries-long tradition of using their talents to impact change in unexpected ways.” 
Bryant was also recently named CAUs first Entrepreneur Scholar in Residence at the CAU School of Business Administration. 
To learn more about Clark Atlanta’s Board of Trustees, click here or visit the website at
About Clark Atlanta University
Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869).  Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African-American tradition and focused on the future.  Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement.  CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world.  Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing "The Black National Anthem"; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit