SC State Alumnus, Robert Porcher III, ‘92 to be honored at MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Robert Porcher IIISC State alumnus and former NFL Pro Bowl player Robert Porcher III, ‘92 will be honored during the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception at Disney's Contemporary Hotel, in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 5 p.m. Also honored will be NFL Hall of Famers Ken Houston (Prairie View A&M) and Larry Little (Bethune-Cookman), vice admiral David Brewer III (Prairie View A&M) and writer-educator Nikki Giovanni (Fisk University).

The reception honors individuals who graduated from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Each honoree will receive an HBCU Trailblazer Award in recognition of the impact made in his or her respective career and community. ESPN sportscaster Jay Harris will host the evening's festivities. 

The Legends Reception will precede the seventh annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney - featuring Bethune-Cookman of the MEAC against Prairie View A&M of the SWAC. The game will be played Sunday, Sept. 4, at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., at noon on ESPN HD.

"We are pleased to honor this fine group of trailblazers from the HBCU community," said Nikki Godfrey, executive director of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. "They individually display not only a great commitment to their respective professions, but also to the community as a whole. We salute their achievements and recognize their numerous accomplishments."

Each year, the game pits a MEAC team against a SWAC opponent at a neutral site located within the footprint of one of the conferences. Several additional events will take place around the game, including a high school career panel and the halftime Battle of the Bands.

SC State played in the inaugural MEAC/SWAC game in 2005 in Birmingham, Ala. (SC State 27, Alabama State 14) as well as in 2009 in Orlando, Fla. (SC State 34, Grambling 31). Also, in 2009 Zack Middleton received the Walton Payton Award and Derrick Wiley was the Offensive Most Valuable Player (MVP).

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN. For more information about the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, or to join the event's following on Facebook and Twitter, please visit the event's official Web site at or at

Detroit Lion’s standout Robert Porcher retired from the team in November 2004, after 13 seasons with the NFL.  He proved to be one of the NFL’s most productive players in his position as defensive end.  In tandem with his efforts on the field, he has proven to be one of the best community service activists and has developed an impressive portfolio of business ventures; garnering national attention as a businessman in the City of Detroit.

Porcher serves as president of The Detroit Football Classic LLC., an annual historically black college football game played at Ford Field.  The inaugural Detroit Football Classic (September 2003) played in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 65,000 fans and leapt into the top three attended black college classics in the country.

In 2004, Porcher broadened his business interests even further with two new ventures.  First, he partnered with Frank Taylor, who serves as president & CEO, and Alexander Zonjic to create Detroit’s premier jazz restaurant and supper club - Seldom Blues. Located in the prestigious GM Renaissance Center, its cutting edge, contemporary menu features continental cuisine with a French flair.  He is also president of Southern Hospitality Restaurant Group, which owns and operates three restaurants in Detroit.  The restaurants include Seldom Blues Jazz Restaurant and Supper Club, Detroit’s Breakfast House and Grill and Motown Soul Food Cafe.

The second venture was with a multi-cultural collective of first-time developers in a commercial real estate project - Vinton Building, LLC.   The Vinton is a historic Albert Kahn building being developed to revitalize the downtown Woodward area with luxury “loftiminiums” and commercial space. 

Porcher served on the Super Bowl XL Host Committee, chairing the Community Relations Action Team; and most recently Porcher was voted to Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau and serves as chairperson of the Detroit Metro Sports Commission Board as well as New Detroit INC.

In addition to his many hours of community service with organizations like The Heat and Warmth Fund, the Police Athletic League, and the Skillman Foundation, Porcher teamed up with the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMCCC), in 2000, to start the Porcher Cancer Relief Fund. The fund is designed to provide financial assistance to families who have children receiving treatment at the UMCCC. 

He has won numerous awards recognizing both on and off the field excellence, including: the Lions’ NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for 2002 and 2003, which in 2005 was renamed the Robert Porcher Man of the Year award, the Detroit Lions Ed Block Courage Award for 2003, and the NFL “Extra Effort” Award.