Kenneth R. Banks ’74, president and CEO of Banks Global Group (BGG) in Pikesville, Maryland, double-majored in physical education and social studies and ran track on a full scholarship. As a sophomore, he became an entrepreneur and, with three other students, started a group called The Four of Us. They rented campus space to put on dances and fashion shows and to host bands, including Kool & The Gang, donating a percentage of their profits to philanthropies.
After teaching and working in sales, Banks left to travel the country, during which time he discovered a passion for construction. He started Banks Construction Company in 1980 and has since built it into a multimillion-dollar construction services and real estate development company. In March 2021, he was named chair of the board of directors for the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Banks served as an Adelphi trustee from 2006 to 2008. He is married to Gloria Mayfield Banks, internationally renowned motivational speaker, success strategist and sales trainer.
What drew you to Adelphi?
I grew up understanding the value of hard work, money and an education. In high school, I was offered several athletic and academic scholarships. Ron Bazil, the head track coach [and assistant dean of students], talked about the great education I would obtain at Adelphi; that was important to me.
What were your college years like?
They were eye-opening. In my youth, I wasn’t exposed to anyone beyond my world of Yonkers and New York City. Adelphi had students from all different walks of life and places, so I was able to broaden my horizons.
Was there a particular lesson you learned that you carry with you?
When you’re running track, you have to put everything you have into it. You have to go beyond the pain to get to where you want to be and really fight for it. That lesson helped me in terms of business: You can’t give up; you have to keep pushing. It’s all right to fall, but the only harm is falling down and staying down. You have to get up and continue your efforts.
Do you have a favorite memory of Adelphi?
My best memories are all the people that I met there. Some of them I’m still in contact with now. And I was on the nationally ranked track team that had the mile relay team of Larry Ross [’74], Keith Davis [’74], Dennis Walker [’73] and Clyde McPherson [’72], who set the world indoor mile relay record, not once, but twice, in 1971.
Why does your connection to Adelphi matter to you?
It helped to open me in terms of my outlook and my viewpoints. I left Adelphi a much better man, much more prepared to deal with the world…I learned to move forward, that I can teach myself certain things and not be afraid to go after my goals and my visions. The things that I learned at Adelphi were life changing for me.