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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Wofford alum and donor Jerry Richardson passes at 86

Photo courtesy of Mark Olencki

Jerome Johnson Richardson, Sr. ‘59, known simply as “Jerry Richardson” passed away in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 1, 2023. 

Richardson is survived by his wife, Rosalind Sallenger Richardson. The two met while Richardson was on a trip with the brothers of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha, according to a story from Wofford’s archives.

The current brothers of Kappa Alpha Order posted a statement on Instagram two days after his passing.

“Mr. Richardson has embodied our values of Reverence, Gentility, Knowledge, Leadership, Brotherhood and Excellence throughout his life,” the statement read. “He generously donated to Wofford College and many other charitable causes, including education, healthcare and the arts, and believed in giving back to his community.”

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President Nayef Samhat met Mr. Richardson when he first joined Wofford College as president in 2013, and the two became instant friends with a common vision to improve the college. 

Since Samhat’s presidency started, Mr. Richardson has donated $250 million to the college, approaching $300 million in his lifetime. 

Students living in Richardson Hall, performing in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts or winning championships in the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium are impacted by Mr. Richardson daily, and that’s just the kind of person he was. 

“When (Mr. Richardson) learned that we needed an arts center, he said that he had no idea and agreed to support it,” Samhat said. “If not for the support in the arts center, we wouldn’t have been able to build the Greek Village.”

It has been two years since Mr. Richardson’s most monumental donation of $150 million, in which the college still has another three to four years to fully grow into. 

The college will be sure to continue to respect the intentions of this gift, continuing the mission in each of the four endowments that it created: Jerome J. Richardson Endowed Experiential Learning Fund, Jerome J. Richardson Endowed Buildings Support Fund, Jerome J. Richardson Endowed Staff Support Fund and Jerome J. Johnson 2021 Endowed Scholarship Fund. 

The Jerome J. Richardson Endowed Experiential Learning Fund will allow students with financial need to experience “study abroad opportunities student and faculty research, internships and entrepreneurial learning opportunities.”

The Jerome J. Richardson Endowed Buildings Support Fund is and will continue to be used to support all the Richardson buildings through maintenance, repair and improvement. 

The Jerome J. Richardson Endowed Staff Fund offered a $15 minimum hourly wage for all full-time employees of the college. 

The Jerome J. Richardson 2021 Endowed Scholarship Fund will offer a need-based financial aid program in which students with an “unmet need” will receive the enhancement. This aid started in the 2022-2023 academic year but will not be in full impact until 2025-2026. 

“Mr. Richardson saw the importance in giving back to the college because he knew that someone else was the reason he got a Wofford degree,” Samhat said. “He wanted his gift to inspire other people to give back as well.” 

One of the other most notable of his contributions is the Richardson Scholarship, which provides coverage of tuition and room and board for one student annually, as well as other networking opportunities.

The current Richardson Scholars are Deuce Miller ’26, Hope Moreno ’25, Alex Schrader ’24 and Jackson Barton ’23. 

Mr. Richardson played for the Baltimore Colts immediately after his graduation from Wofford. Shortly after his NFL journey, he worked alongside Charles Bradshaw to open Spartanburg’s first Hardee’s restaurant.

Mr. Richardson also founded and owned the Carolina Panthers NFL team from 1995 to 2018. This ownership allowed the Carolina Panthers to host a training camp at Wofford for numerous years, creating network opportunities for our Terriers. 

This does not even begin to give justice to the many contributions Mr. Richardson has made on Wofford’s campus, in the Spartanburg community and around the country. 

“His giving will be an integral part of the college’s history forever,” Samhat said.

We at the Old Gold & Black extend our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Richardson during this time. 

His funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 18 at 11 a.m. in the Jerry RIchardson Indoor Stadium. It will be open to the public and livestreamed on Wofford College’s YouTube channel.

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Brandi Wylie
Brandi Wylie, Editor-In-Chief
Education Major from Spartanburg, SC
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