Mohamed Mansour receives honorary doctorate from North Carolina State University
Mr Mohamed Mansour, the internationally renowned Egyptian business leader and philanthropist, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by North Carolina State University (“NC State”), his alma mater.
In recognition of his decades of life-changing philanthropy in Egypt and internationally, Mr Mansour was made an ‘Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters’, the highest honour the university can bestow, at a ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina on 7 May.
In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate, Mr Mansour was invited to deliver the keynote address at the University’s commencement ceremony. He addressed an audience at Raleigh’s landmark PNC Arena of around 20,000 people, thought to be the largest ever attendance for an NC State commencement, including the graduating Class of 2022 and the students’ family and friends, as well as faculty members, academics and other university staff.
Mr Mansour used his speech to share an important message about seizing opportunities and making the most of ‘second chances’ in life, drawing on his personal experiences at NC State and how he recovered from early mistakes and setbacks with the trust and support of the university in general and one professor in particular.
It is believed Mr Mansour is among the first Egyptians to be given an honorary doctorate by a US university. He studied at NC State from 1964-68, graduating in textile technology aged 20. He later studied for an MBA at Auburn University in Alabama before returning to Egypt in 1973.
Mr Mansour went on to be Co-Founder and Chair of the Mansour Group, the global conglomerate. Among the businesses in the group are Mansour Automotive Company, a leading Egyptian and regional automotive distributor; Mantrac Group, one of the world’s largest distributors of Caterpillar machines; and ManCapital LLP, the Mansour family’s private investment firm.
Raleigh, North Carolina was Mr Mansour’s first home outside of Egypt after moving from Alexandria aged 15 and the university still holds a special place in his affections. Mr Mansour’s father, the late Mr Loutfy Mansour, a successful cotton exporter, had wanted him and his brothers to go to NC State University because it was then – and still is – renowned for its textiles programme.
Mr Mansour is a committed philanthropist in Egypt and internationally. Among the many programmes that he has created over many years, he is the founder and Chairman of the Lead Foundation, a ground-breaking non-profit organisation established almost 20 years ago that empowers and provides funding to small enterprises owned by women in Egypt.
Reflecting on the ceremony and award, Mr Mansour said:
“My time at NC State undoubtedly shaped me as a human being and provided me with the building blocks which allowed me to go on and build successful global businesses and give back throughout my life.
“When I arrived from Egypt in late 1963, Raleigh was a much smaller town to what it is today but NC State was such a welcoming place for a young man to grow and thrive. The campus has developed hugely over the years but that welcoming environment has not changed.
“It was a tremendous privilege to be invited back to receive an Honorary Doctorate and address this year’s latest generation of bright, young graduates ready to take their next step in life.”
Commenting on Mr Mansour’s recognition by NC State, the university’s Chancellor, Dr Randolph Woodson said:
“Honorary Doctoral Degrees are only awarded to individuals who have attained achievements of extraordinary and lasting distinction and made outstanding contributions to scholarship, creativity, leadership, and humanitarian or public service.
“No one embodies these qualities and reflects the mission of the University more than Mr Mansour. His longevity and success as a business leader and philanthropist are worthy of celebration, and we were delighted to welcome Mr Mansour back so many years after he originally attended NC State as an undergraduate.”
Dr. David Hinks, Dean of Wilson College of Textiles, said:
“The Wilson College of Textiles has always been so proud to call Mr. Mansour an alumnus. For many years we have been enormously impressed by his humanity and sense of purpose. He has enjoyed extraordinary success as an entrepreneur and business leader but has remained true to his strong principles and values.
“The theme of second chances is something that really resonates with a lot of our students at NC State. As Mr Mansour said in his speech, ‘we all deserve second chances’ and often those moments become turning points, as in his own extraordinary life.”