AAE Alumnus Elzie Higginbottom (B.A. ’65) was recently honored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) with a Distinguished Alumni Award. He is the owner of East Lake Management & Development Corp., which grew to become the largest minority-owned real estate company in the State of Illinois. He was inducted in the Chicago Realtors Hall of Fame in 2000, the only African American to receive that honor.
As a dedicated community member who continually gives back in a variety of ways, Mr. Higginbottom is committed to providing affordable, safe and comfortable housing to Chicagoans. In 2004 he endowed the Higginbottom Urgent Care for Kids Unit at Mercy Hospital. Wanting to inspire young athletes, Higginbottom and Dr. Conrad Worril co-founded Friends of Track and Field in 2006. He is also a board member for After School Matters in Chicago and a Trustee for Illinois Institute of Technology.
A track star during his tenure at UW, Higginbottom held the UW record for the indoor and outdoor 440 for more than 20 years. He was inducted into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.
From the CALS Committee:
Elzie Higginbottom is a successful businessman, loyal UW–Madison alumnus and advocate for underrepresented youth. His undergraduate experiences studying agricultural and applied economics in CALS influenced his career in real estate entrepreneurship. He remains connected to the UW today by serving on the UW Foundation Board of Directors and the Chancellor’s Advisory Board. Higginbottom is also active in the Chicago Chapter of the UW Alumni Association and informally acts as an advisor to other leaders on campus. In addition to his volunteerism, Higginbottom is a loyal donor to the UW and recently provided resources to pilot an immersion program to help recruit eligible underrepresented students from Chicago area high schools to CALS. He is passionate about providing opportunities for these students to become excited about education, particularly in areas involving agriculture and life sciences. Higginbottom is an influential leader in his community and is generous, inclusive, forward-thinking and supportive.