Bernard Marcus Receives ADL's Highest Honor
Atlanta, GA, October 26, 2006 … Citing his triumphant spirit of entrepreneurship and his dedication to philanthropic causes that include medical research, Holocaust education, and Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented the co-founder of Home Depot, Bernard Marcus, its highest honor, the America's Democratic Legacy Award.
"No one more spectacularly exemplifies the American spirit of entrepreneurship and success than Bernard Marcus, founder of the largest home improvement chain in the world. Home Depot has earned its place in economic history for its huge impact on reducing the cost of home ownership in our country," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"He is one of Atlanta's most beloved citizens, a household name and an enormous influence in Atlanta and, through his generosity, around the world."
The son of Russian immigrant parents, Bernard Marcus grew up in a tenement in Newark, New Jersey. He could not fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor due to the high costs of medical school, so he worked his way through a pharmacy degree at Rutgers University. After graduating, Marcus worked for a drug store, a cosmetic company, and other retail outlets, finally working his way up to chairman of Handy Dan, a California-based home improvement chain. He later moved to Atlanta and teamed up with Arthur Blank to found a home improvement store with the innovative warehouse concept. Over 1500 stores and over 50 expo design centers later, Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement retailer.
ADL's America's Democratic Legacy Award, its highest honor, was established more than 50 years ago to recognize "those precious few individuals who have helped make our nation a place where freedom, equality and democracy are cherished rights forever."
Previous award recipients include former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman; as well as Colin Powell, Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Justice Earl Warren, Saul Bellow, George Tenet, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca, Walter Annenberg, Dwayne Andreas and Cardinal John O'Connor. The award has also been presented to distinguished institutions including Harvard University, The New York Times and the Columbia Broadcasting System.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.