The Columns

A New Scholarship

— by on June 16th, 2016

Jim Paradies '51Jim Paradies ’51

For James N. (Jim) Paradies ’51, W&L provided the right mix of rigorous academics and a nurturing environment to develop in him the leadership abilities and financial skills necessary for launching a successful career as an entrepreneur.

An economics major at W&L, Paradies, along with his brother, co-founded The Paradies Shops Inc. with the opening of one toy store in the Atlanta Municipal Airport (now Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport). The company, now called Paradies Lagardère, operates more than 850 stores and restaurants in over 90 airports.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have grown a great company,” says Paradies. “We have roughly 6,000 associates throughout North America, and I feel blessed by the success of this company. I think my experience at W&L had a direct impact on that.”

In appreciation for the positive influence W&L has had on his personal life and career, Paradies has given $100,000 to establish the James N. Paradies Scholarship Endowment to help deserving students in need of financial support. The scholarship will be awarded for the first time during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Paradies also recently contributed $25,000 to the Hillel Programming Endowment to support the campus organization that nurtures the intellectual and spiritual development of Jewish students at W&L.

“The organization is a great continuation of Jewish tradition at the university,” says Paradies. “I believe that Hillel can strengthen the overall W&L experience for Jewish students on campus.”

Paradies still stays connected to W&L through friendships that remain strong six decades after his graduation. Each Saturday, for example, he has lunch with classmates Dave Wolf and Sonny Shlesinger. He also values the lessons he learned serving on the Executive Committee. Paradies hopes future students who receive the scholarship he established also will find their lives enriched at W&L.