Born and raised in Pennsylvania during the Great Depression, Margaret Richardson has transformed obstacles and adversity into opportunities.
In April, Richardson was honored by University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart with a Humane Letters Honorary Degree from the College of Medicine.
While her parents could not afford to send her to college, Richardson started her working life at Westinghouse Electric Corporation and soon found a professional home in the automobile retail industry.
In 1947, with $200 in savings, Richardson moved to Los Angeles to seek a new life — a highly unusual move for single women at that time. She secured a position with an automobile dealership and, in 1965, married Howard Richardson at the age of 44. Soon after the marriage, she began taking college courses and attended for three years before she and Howard became entrepreneurs and started their own business.
Realizing the family's new company needed her expertise, she stopped out of college to manage all aspects of the dealership's business. She was not able to return to college, working instead in partnership with Howard to built a successful business, while also later investing time and resources in the community and institutions that contributed to their success. Richardson also served the UA as a member of the Sarver Heart Center's and the UA Health Sciences' advisory boards.
Her husband, who graduated from the UA in 1940, was one of the volunteer organizers of the University's Century II Campaign and served as a member of the Office of the Chair, later receiving the Alumni Achievement Award in 1988. After he passed in 1989, Margaret Richardson made an investment to the UA in support of cardiovascular research.
Later in 2008, after a family member's health scare with cancer, she turned to the UA Cancer Center for support, ultimately providing a donation that would establish an endowment.
In his nominating letter for Richardson, Dr. Joe G. N. "Skip" Garcia, the UA's senior vice president for health sciences, wrote about Richardson: "She is an inspiration whose legacy will transform healthcare."
Photography by Bob Demers/UANews
Margaret Richardson was honored by UA President Ann Weaver Hart with a Humane Letters Honorary Degree in April 2016.