On Sunday, UK’s seniors and grad students will have some monster-sized company at graduation: Jamal Mashburn. Mashburn will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities from the University for his contributions to the school, state, and community.
Despite leaving early for the NBA, Mashburn is one of the University’s most successful alums. He owns a variety of businesses, including car dealerships, restaurants, and real estate. How many restaurants? 38 Outback Steakhouses, 39 Papa John’s pizza outlets, and three Dunkin’ Donuts stores, to name a few. He’s also devoted to the community, donating $500,000 to start the Jamal Mashburn Scholarship fund back when he left school back in 1993. The scholarship identifies ninth grade students in the Lexington, Kentucky, area, tracks them through high school, and then awards them a full scholarship to attend the University of Kentucky or Bluegrass Community and Technical College in the event they achieve their academic and personal goals.
If that weren’t enough, he’s also a founding member, officer, and director of The MAP Foundation, which focuses on youth mentoring; and the Mashburn Family Foundation, which offers programs and support for latch-key children and children of alcoholics and single mothers. Mashburn currently sits on the Board of Directors for the National Forest Foundation and served on the Advisory Board for Central Bank & Trust Company in Lexington, KY from 2005-2008. He also dabbles in commentating, working as an analyst for ESPN from 2006-2010 and a radio color commentator for Sirius during the past NCAA Tournament.
Thanks for making us proud, Mash.