The Character Education Partnership (CEP) announced Richard Pieper Sr., a renowned Milwaukee entrepreneur, community leader and philanthropist, has been chosen to receive the 2013 American Patriot of Character Award.
Each year, the award is given to one American citizen whose leadership exemplifies the very best of our nation’s founding principles and ideals. It recognizes those who rise to the top of their chosen fields while upholding the highest ethical standards in service to the common good. The award will be presented to Pieper at the 2013 National Forum on Character Education, Oct. 24-27, in Washington, D.C.
Pieper is a longtime advocate for the concept of servant leadership and is a past recipient of the BizTimes Lifetime Achievement Award.
Pieper is currently the non-executive chairman of the board of PPC Partners Inc., headquartered in Milwaukee, and past chairman of the board of trustees for the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership in Indianapolis.
“In many ways, Mr. Pieper’s life story reflects the great American dream. Through hard work and perseverance, he turned a small mom and pop operation into a large and thriving business. Along the way, he also chose to give back in countless ways to help others. His work to develop virtuous citizenship in young people is especially noteworthy,” said Mark Hyatt, CEP’s president and CEO.
With help from a small group of volunteers, Pieper started the Wisconsin Character Education Partnership. Today it recognizes schools of character across the state, identifies and shares best character-building classroom practices with others, provides professional development for state educators on the guiding 11 Principles of Effective Character Education and more, to include an annual state-wide conference focused on character development in Wisconsin schools.
Pieper was also instrumental in forging a partnership with Alverno College to offer Wisconsin K-12 school principals a special Leadership Academy in Character Education. For several years, it has helped school leaders develop and initiate strategies to positively transform their schools while fostering important values like respect, honesty, resilience, responsibility and citizenship.
“Dick Pieper was chosen as the 2013 American Patriot of Character because he embodies the traits and qualities that help make our nation great—love of country, principled leadership, compassion, and selfless service to lift up and help others,” said Charles Haynes, chairman of the CEP board. “I can think of no one more deserving of this national-level recognition than Mr. Pieper. He is a great American and wonderful example for other, young and old alike.”
Rich Teerlink, former chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Inc., was on the special committee that chose Pieper for the award. Teerlink said, “There were many amazing individuals considered, but Dick Pieper quickly rose to the top. All of us were blown away by his servant leadership, his integrity and his genuine commitment to improving his community and the broader nation. He is a perfect example of how one person can truly make a profound difference. We need more people like him.”