Col. Eugene F. Scott will take that last ride up Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in August after nearly 20 years of directing the nation’s largest back- to-school parade and the nonprofit organization that produces the 85-year-old jewel of Chicago’s Black community.
“It has been a distinct honor to organize and advance the mission of the Chicago Defender Charities through new programming and increased corporate support,” said Scott, known as “The Colonel” to corporate sponsors, community leaders, politicians and throngs of African American youth. “The Bud Billiken Parade is the crown jewel of Black Chicago. I hope I have served the legacy and the community well.”
Col. Scott, who is former general manager and publisher of the Chicago Daily Defender Newspaper, joined Sengstacke Enterprises in 1991 as executive assistant and confidante of the late John H.H Sengstacke. After the sale of the paper, Col. Scott assumed full duties and responsibilities of the Chicago Defender Charities as president and chairman of the board. “Mr. John always said to me, ‘we must never let this opportunity to celebrate our people and showcase our children end,’ I have taken it as far as I can,” Scott said.
During his tenure, Scott and his wife Beverly, former columnist at the Chicago Daily Defender and a Woman of Excellence, revitalized the beloved parade, increased corporate participation and media interest, and were the first to provide President Barack Obama a national African-American audience. President Obama has sent a representative to the parade every year since his first appearance as Grand Marshal in 2006. Col. Scott is most proud of the work they’ve accomplished with Chicago’s youth. “We developed several programs to increase assistance to underserved Chicagoland youth,” Scott said. The Bud Billiken Scholars and Sustainable Futures program has generated $1.5 million for college, trade and general equivalency educational financial assistance. More than 200 students have graduated from colleges and universities across the country.
Marc Sengstacke, distant relative of Bud Billiken Parade founder Robert Abbott and son of former Chicago Defender Publisher Frederick Sengstacke, will serve as executive director of the Chicago Defender Charities. Scott’s stepdaughter Chez Smith will continue as project and programs director.
A celebration and tribute to Col. Eugene F. Scott will be held June 20. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.