Browse By

Jackson State University Receives $1 Million Gift To Name Atrium After Esteemed Alumnus

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University received a $1 million gift from John Nau, president and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., for STEM scholarships and naming the atrium in the JSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology building after Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Crear, a 1975 graduate of JSU.

Nau says he made the donation out of his immense esteem for Crear’s leadership and service to the nation.
Crear and his family have served 33 years on active duty worldwide. He has commanded and led soldiers and civilians at every level while serving in high-level leadership positions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Crear is also president and CEO of the Crear Group LLC, a governmental relations and business development consulting firm in his native Vicksburg. Longtime colleagues, Crear and Nau serve together on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park.

“I would like to attribute this honor to Dr. John A. Peoples, president emeritus of Jackson State University. Dr. Peoples had the vision to establish ROTC at Jackson State,” says Crear, who is also chairman of Rye Development, the leading developer of hydroelectric power on existing dams in the nation.

Crear shares that Peoples understood the high esteem that officers held in society, and he wanted to leverage that to enhance the reputation of Jackson State. Being in ROTC, Crear explains, allowed him to build relationships with influential people throughout the world, including his friendship with Nau.
Funds will be used for scholarships for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math, including those enrolled in JSU’s ROTC program.

“We are truly appreciative of this generous gift. It not only reflects the deep amount of respect people have for our alumni like Brigadier General Crear, but this investment also shows confidence in the future of Jackson State,” said Thomas K. Hudson, president of JSU. “Of course, we are dedicated to being good stewards and using this financial resource to enhance the academic experience for our students.”

At Jackson State, Crear majored in mathematics and received his commission as an officer through the Army ROTC Program. His numerous assignments include serving at the Pentagon and commanding two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Divisions.
Additionally, he served as president of the Mississippi River Commission, having been appointed by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate, a first for an African American.

Crear also served on the ground in Iraq as Commander of Task Force Restore Iraqi Oil (TF RIO), an organization he established, trained and led in 2003. TF RIO was responsible for a first-of-its-kind mission for the Department of Defense, which was first to extinguish all oil fires and then restore the oil infrastructure, production, export capability, and the internal distribution system in Iraq.

In 2005, Crear also organized and served as Commander of Task Force Hope, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers $14.6 Billion infrastructure recovery and restoration effort in Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It was the largest disaster response and recovery operation in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers history.

In 2010, he was inducted into the JSU Alumni Hall of Fame. In June 2016, he was inducted into the Army’s inaugural class of the National Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Hall of Fame and the Jackson State University ROTC Hall of Fame. Currently, Crear is a current member of the JSU Development Foundation, Inc.
Crear is married to his high school sweetheart and wife of 49 years, Reatha Crear. Their union produced four children, all graduates of JSU, Kristi Crear, Kimberly Crear-Gregory (Keith Gregory son-in-law), Robert “Bo” Crear Jr., and Reginald Crear. The retired brigadier general and his wife also have six grandchildren.