WURD celebrates legacy of founder Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr.

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Philadelphia radio station WURD celebrated the legacy of its founder, the late physician, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr. who died in 2013.

The all-day event included workshops centered around health, wealth, and black empowerment, all central to Lomax’s work.

Although Lomax’s daughter, WURD president and CEO Sara Lomax-Reese, said starting a radio station wasn’t initially in her father’s plans, the 15-year-old station remains his most visible achievement.

“Now this is the piece that’s kind of carrying his legacy into the public domain,” she said.

Before founding one of the few independent black-owned talk radio stations in 2003, Lomax was a revered businessman in the city.

He started in South Philadelphia, where he ran his medical practice out of a rowhome. Lomax once treated Martin Luther King Jr. when the civil rights leader traveled through the city in 1968.

He expanded his practice to six sites with 22 other physicians. He also established businesses that provided health care to underserved communities, including the incarcerated.

Lomax made a fortune, but, according to those close to him, he was just as generous as he was enterprising.

 

WURD Radio's Mike Thomas interviews chef Chris Paul during a cooking demonstration at Founder's Day, celebrating the legacy of WURD founder Walter P. Lomax, Jr.
WURD Radio’s Mike Thomas interviews chef Chris Paul during a cooking demonstration at Founder’s Day, celebrating the legacy of WURD founder Walter P. Lomax Jr. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Mike Thomas, chief operator at WURD, worked with Lomax for many years and said he was always willing to help up-and-coming black businesses.

“He’s always saying business, watch your money, invest in things, invest in other African-Americans because you got to pay it forward,” he said.

Lomax’s widow, Beverly, and his five children are continuing his business legacy.

In addition to running WURD, the family-owned businesses include The Lomax Companies, an investment fund; Lomax Real Estate Partners; and The Lomax Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization.

Lomax-Reese said, for her family, economic empowerment is the goal.

“Because that was really at his core, his belief that economic empowerment was really, in a capitalistic society, the pathway to liberation and full equality,” she said.

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