Deese Gives $1 Million To Support N.C. A&T Alzheimer’s Research, Student Success, Athletics

Deese Gives $1 Million To Support N.C. A&T Alzheimer’s Research, Student Success, Athletics

North Carolina A&T State University alumnus and retired pharmaceutical executive Willie A. Deese is generously giving back to his alma mater, once again, in ways that will provide critical, immediate and ongoing support for research, student success and athletics.

Deese’s $1 million gift will be split five ways in areas of need and opportunity across the university. The 1977 graduate of the School of Business and Economics (now a college), is a strong supporter of N.C. A&T and a true believer in investing in its mission.

“This extraordinary gift is just the latest illustration of Willie Deese’s commitment to N.C. A&T, as well as his strong belief in our students and our success as a doctoral higher-research university,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “We sincerely appreciate his enthusiasm for our university, as well as the great example his support sets for others interested in making a difference at N.C. A&T. This is exactly what leadership looks like.”

Deese’s gift will be invested as follows:   

  • $150,000 for the Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s, Aging, and Community Health (COAACH), home to vital research focusing mostly on African Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. The center regularly collaborates with other academic centers and institutes, as well as federal and state agencies, to further searches for a cure and new treatment options.
  • $350,000 to expand the Willie A. Deese Endowed Scholarship fund. Available to undergraduate applicants, this scholarship fund provides merit-based/need-based awards each year.
  • $200,000 to the College of Business and Economics in current-use scholarship funds. Rather than going toward an endowment, these monies will be used to support immediate student needs.
  • $200,000 to establish an unrestricted endowed scholarship. Such scholarship funds offer the university flexibility in providing financial aid to students in need, sometimes making the difference in a student’s ability to continue his or her studies. 
  • $100,000 to support an endowed scholarship for a student athlete in football. These funds will help ensure the continued success of the N.C. A&T football team.

Deese, who retired in June after 12 years as a senior executive of Merck and Co., Inc., a pharmaceutical and health solutions company (known outside the United States as MSD), has long been one of the university’s most passionate and deeply involved alumni. Combined with his previous gifts, his overall financial support totals more than $4 million.  

“North Carolina A&T provided the educational foundation for the career I was fortunate to enjoy, and I will never forget the difference this amazing institution played in my life,” said Deese. “From faculty who taught me enduring lessons to friendships that continue to this day, it made an enormous difference for me. I’m grateful to be able to support research and student success there so that it can be just as transformative in the lives of others.”