Pioneer in Diversity

April 4, 2014

Doug Alligood ’56 reflected on the influence of childhood hero Jackie Robinson during a campus visit. Alligood, senior vice president of horizontal markets at New York-based BBDO, broke ground as one of the first African Americans in the advertising industry.

As an aspiring baseball player from St. Louis, Alligood looked up to Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947.

“Jackie Robinson probably wasn’t the best in the [Negro Leagues], but he was ready for it,” Alligood said. “What he went through to make it work had a big influence on us trying to play ball.”

Alligood enrolled at Bradley in 1952 and tried out for the baseball team. He didn’t make the cut, but he took advantage of opportunities in the university’s Air Force ROTC, music and residence hall leadership.

“You’re going to run into situations you can’t overcome or reverse, but you can give it your best,” Alligood said.

The lecture preceded a showing of the 2013 Jackie Robinson tribute film “42” as part of the university’s yearlong civil rights celebration.