WEST LAFAYETTE | Purdue University's Management and Economics Library soon will don the name of Hammond native Roland Parrish, who donated $2 million to help with renovations.
The work, being done in three phases, should be completed in early 2012 and cost about $4.2 million.
It will be named The Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics, marking the first time a major facility on campus will be named for a black alumnus.
Parrish, who lives in DeSoto, Texas, graduated from Hammond High School and earned his master's and bachelor's degrees in management from Purdue in the 1970s. He owns 25 McDonald's franchises in and around Dallas.
His business has grown over the years — Parrish owned 19 franchises in 2007, 14 in 2001 and just four in 1997.
He often returns to the region to speak to students about leadership and ambition.
In 2007, Parrish spoke in Hammond about his struggle to become a McDonald's owner after working for 13 years with Exxon Co. USA.
"I was rejected, and it took me a year to get accepted into the training program, where for some folks it takes a month," Parrish said at the time. "For three months, I called the (McDonald's) office to speak with the lady who had rejected me, but she was always out. I didn't accept 'no' as an answer."
The recently completed second phase of construction at Purdue includes team collaboration media stations, a multimedia production center, two semiprivate group study rooms and a business information miniclassroom, according to a university release.
The third phase will create a coffee shop and a common area.
Parrish, a high school and college track star, also has donated money for the Lambert Fieldhouse indoor track and field scoreboard and a scholarship in memory of his Purdue mentor, Cornell Bell.
Parrish was the first student recruited by Bell into the Krannert School of Management's Business Opportunity Program, and he has received Krannert's Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Award.