December 11, 2018

Carly Buggy
484-385-2934 (office)
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United Parcel Service, Inc. Chairman and CEO David P. Abney to Receive 2019 Horatio Alger Award 

Horatio Alger Association names 13 outstanding individuals, each of whom has overcome adversity to achieve professional and personal success, to its New Member Class of 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 11, 2018) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that David P. Abney, chairman and CEO, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Abney joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2019 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable endeavors throughout their lives.

Mr. Abney was raised in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions in the United States. His father sold insurance and his mother was a homemaker. Growing up in a family with modest means, Mr. Abney had limited options for higher education and career opportunity, but his parents instilled in him the value of hard work and persistence. With his own ambition and the help of a scholarship, he became the first in his family to attend college. In 1976, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University, which he and his wife, Sherry, support to this day, sponsoring the school’s annual symposium on international business.

It was during college that his lifelong journey with UPS began. At 18, he began working the night shift at a local UPS facility, washing and loading delivery trucks. Juggling classes and a job, Mr. Abney would nap between lectures on a sofa in the student lounge, making up for lost sleep. Following graduation, he remained loyal to UPS as his fascination with the company’s business operations continued to grow. Mr. Abney went on to hold 20 different jobs at UPS, ultimately ascending to president of its international operations in 2003, and four years later, chief operating officer, overseeing logistics, sustainability, engineering and all facets of the UPS transportation network. Abney has held the roles of chairman and chief executive officer of UPS, Inc. since 2016 and 2014, respectively. Under his leadership, the company has grown to upwards of $66 billion in revenue and employs 454,000 people.

“David’s triumphs are rooted in hard work and his commitment to success is commendable,” said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “In the face of adversity, he chose a path that required great courage and tenacity. Working his way up from a UPS package delivery driver to the head of that same multi-billion-dollar corporation is a testament to the power of the American Dream.”

Mr. Abney’s commitment and service to UPS have earned him industry-wide respect. He was named one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs of 2018 and was the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement award by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Aside from his corporate responsibilities, Mr. Abney serves as a trustee of The UPS Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as well as a member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, and the Business Roundtable. Most recently, he was elected as the 2019 Chairman for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Abney also serves as a board member for Macy’s, Inc. (M) and Catalyst, working to advance women, especially women of color, into senior leadership and board positions.

“What I learned early on in life is that if you believe in yourself and work hard, you’ll succeed,” said Mr. Abney. “As I join this esteemed membership, I hope to guide Scholars to rise above challenges to achieve their goals, because at the end of the day, what defines personal success is the individual commitment we put into our efforts.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $159 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.

“Mr. Abney’s journey, coupled with his humble character, will undoubtedly challenge our Scholars to set the bar high for themselves,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “These students can relate to his modest beginnings. His life story of leveraging both talent and sheer determination to become the CEO of one of the country’s most admired companies is sure to inspire.”

Mr. Abney and the Member Class of 2019 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 4-6, 2019, during the Association’s 72nd Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact as well as exchange stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2019, please visit and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2018, the Association awarded more than $16 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $159 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit