ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 2,400 people gathered on Thursday night at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. for The Executive Leadership Council's (ELC) 2016 Recognition Gala commemorating The ELC's 30 th Anniversary. The ELC hosts this special event each year paying tribute to outstanding business leaders and corporations in the area of Diversity & Inclusion.
"Since 1989, The ELC has hosted this annual event celebrating black executive leadership and achievement on a global stage and demonstrating the impact and value of diversity and inclusion in business today," said Ronald C. Parker, ELC President and CEO. "As we celebrate our anniversary this year, we wanted to recognize some of the luminaries who have blazed a trail for blacks in corporate America and the African-American community over the past 30 years." The ELC presented the 2016 Lifetime Legacy Award to Dr. Clifton A. Wharton, Jr. and Mrs. Dolores D. Wharton celebrating their distinguished careers as black business pioneers. Dr. Wharton was the first African American to become CEO of a major U.S. corporation when named CEO of TIAA-CREF in 1987. His wife Dolores has had her own distinguished career as a corporate director, foundation executive and arts advocate. "We are exhilarated over receiving The Executive Leadership Council's Lifetime Legacy Award," said Mrs. Wharton. "As a director of three multinational corporations, I have seen firsthand the plight of minorities and women in the world of big business. I am delighted with this occasion to highlight our common cause this evening, and especially so with this preeminent audience of thinking people."