Since 1984 McPherson has delivered school and community-based programs addressing issues such as drunk driving, alcohol and substance abuse, bullying, youth leadership and mentoring. Upon retiring from pro football in 1994, he joined Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society as national director of Athletes in Service to America. In 2002 he founded the Sports Leadership Institute at Adelphi University, for which he served as executive director until 2007.
McPherson was an All-America quarterback at Syracuse University and is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League. As captain of the undefeated 1987 Syracuse football team, McPherson set 22 school records, led the nation in passing and won more than 18 national “player of the year” awards, including the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the inaugural Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was second in the Heisman Trophy voting. In 2008, McPherson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2013, Syracuse University retired his #9 jersey.
In 1995 McPherson turned his focus to the issue of “men’s violence against women,” as director of Sport in Society’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program. McPherson emerged as a national leader and advocate for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence. He has conducted workshops and lectures for more than 375 college campuses, community organizations and national sports and violence prevention organizations.
Don has twice testified before the United States Congress and has worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense on issues of sexual violence in education and the military, respectively.
Don McPherson has served as a board member, consultant and advisor for several national organizations including the Ms. Foundation for Women, the US National Committee for UN Women and the National Football Foundation. McPherson was a member the NCAA Task Force on Sexual Violence and the NCAA Board of Governors Commission to Combat Sexual Violence. Currently he serves on the board of directors of the NYC Chapter of the National Football Foundation and, is a member of the advisory board of Press Forward and the Solidarity Council of Vital Voices.