Krannert Leadership Awards

Each year, the School of Management recognizes the outstanding achievements of its alumni and supporters through the Krannert Leadership Speakers Series. The recipients of these awards have made significant contributions to society, and their accomplishments, affiliations and careers honor the legacy of excellence at Purdue University and the Krannert School.


Roland G. Parrish, BSIM ’75, MSM ’76
President, CEO and Owner
Parrish McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd.

Learning, leadership and legacy building are the hallmarks of Roland G. Parrish’s race to the top. And what a track record he’s compiled on the way to earning the Krannert School’s highest honor.

Intent on becoming an engineer, Parrish arrived at Purdue on an athletic scholarship in 1971 and was recruited into the fledgling Business Opportunity Program (BOP) by the late Dr. Cornell Bell. Parrish quickly switched his major to management and never looked back.

Combining athletic discipline with academic dedication, Parrish made the dean’s list seven out of eight semesters. He lettered four years on Purdue’s track and field team, served as team captain in his senior year and was voted MVP twice by his teammates.

Galvanized when McDonald’s rejected his first application for a franchise, Parrish today owns 25 McDonald’s franchises in North Texas.

Roland G. Parrish

Roland G. Parrish

The average franchisee owns five restaurants. His company consistently makes Black Enterprise magazine’s BE 100 as one of the Top 100 Black Owned Businesses in the United States.

In 2010, Parrish made a $2 million leadership gift to help complete a three-phase, $4.2 million renovation of the Krannert Management and Economics Library. When finished in early 2012, the new Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics will stand as a prototype state-of-the-art library, laboratory and learning commons.

Parrish speaks with students whenever he has the opportunity and imparts principles that make him successful. At the top of his list: Reading and continuing to pursue education even after acquiring a degree. Do that, and you’ll be on track to winning in business and living a fulfilling life, he says.

“My American dream came true, and I believe that to whom much is given, much is required,” Parrish says. “I am honored and humbled being recognized by Krannert and to be counted in the company of our alumni and educators who’ve made worthwhile contributions.”


Mary Pat Meade, MSM ’76
Global Quality Manager, Connection Systems Business Unit
Delphi Packard Electrical/Electronic Architecture

Mary Pat Meade began her career with General Motors (now Delphi) Packard Electrical in 1976 after graduating from Purdue. One of the first females in the engineering department, she moved quickly through the organization holding a variety of positions in marketing, industrial engineering, manufacturing, strategic planning and quality.

Meade was appointed to her current position as global quality manager for the Connection Systems Business Unit in 2009.

Mary Pat Meade

Mary Pat Meade

In this role, she is responsible for the development and implementation of global quality systems in more than 20 connections systems manufacturing plants located across the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, China, Korea, India, Spain, Morocco, Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Meade has been a member of the Krannert School Alumni Association since 1999. During that time she has addressed numerous student groups as well as undergraduate and graduate classes on topics such as women in business, team building and networking. She has twice participated as a team leader at the Barbara G. Doster Leadership Forum, a biennial conference for Krannert’s top undergraduates.

“As a Krannert alumna, it is my responsibility and privilege to give back to the school any way I can,” Meade says. “I enjoy returning to campus, talking to students and participating in their classes. I always learn something, too. I feel blessed to receive an award for something I love to do!”

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