Local Business Owner Donates Soccer Club Uniforms to GSU
For Melvin Buckley, the local business owner who donated uniforms to the GSU Soccer Club this past winter, mentorship and philanthropy are guideposts.
“This is a natural thing for me. Wherever there are kids and wherever there’s a lack, I want to participate,” he said during a recent visit to campus. “Jackie Small (Director of GSU’s Annual Fund) had been talking with me, and I’d been busy, but a day came when I decided that today I’m going to Governors State and I’m going to see what they’re doing over there. I try to do things on as high of a level of integrity as I can, and so if I notice there’s a need and I can do something, I will.”
The students greeted Buckley in their uniforms, bright white shorts and shirts with golden arches—The Golden Arches—on the sleeve to represent the sponsorship from Buckley, who owns two local McDonald’s restaurants in Richton Park and South Chicago Heights. It was mentorship that led him into that business venture.
“I was really in the right place at the right time,” he said. Buckley, a lifelong athlete, was volunteering at a Michael Jordan basketball camp—something he did frequently— in 1987. There was one young man, he said, who was “a little challenging” for some of the coaches. Buckley saw the boy’s difficulty and stepped in. “I went over there and calmed him down and talked to him, then he started doing what he was supposed to do. A woman who was watching came over and she asked for my name, she asked what I did, and she gave me her card.”
That woman was the Dean of McDonald’s University, and she liked the leadership skills that she saw in Buckley, then a salesman for Xerox. Two years later—after building up his property management company to raise the capital—Buckley began his journey with the worldwide fast-food giant.
Originally from Harvey, Buckley places expectations on the young people he helps that are no higher than those he holds himself to. He is a self-described realist who believes in hard work and self-reliance.
Arturo Chairez, president of the newly-founded athletic club on campus, prepared a statement to show his club’s gratitude:
“Words cannot express my sincere thanks to Mr. Buckley for his generous donation to the Governors State University Soccer Club. It has given the club a great deal of excitement and joy to have uniforms that represent the club for who we are. We play soccer for the love of the game and these uniforms embody that in every way. We thank Mr. Buckley for believing in us and donating uniforms that have inspired us to keep pushing forward and become more united than ever before. We are the GSU Soccer Club, and we thank you again."
GSU's Soccer Club formed in the spring of 2015 as an all-gender, all-class recreational team for students. With two homegames left in April and one match scheduled at NIU, there's still time to see them in action in their new uniforms.
Small, who works with GSU donors through the Development Office, showed her thanks as well.
"We thank Mr. Buckley for answering our call on this project so quickly and welcome him into our family of GSU student supporters."