Stark Dillard was born January 22, 1894, in Lynchburg, Virginia. His education was comprised of eight years of grade school. But his success and accomplishments led to his being awarded an honorary doctorate in 1971 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In his early career, he was employed as a salesman with Alling and Cory. In 1916, he co-founded Caskie-Dillard Paper Company in Lynchburg, and in 1926, he founded Dillard Paper Company in Greensboro. Both companies became successful paper distributors. Mr. Dillard pioneered distribution relationships with many mills that, prior to that time, had sold their paper directly, without benefit of local distribution.
A strong personality, Mr. Dillard exhibited broad industry knowledge, crossing both the printing paper and industrial paper environments. He was recognized for his skills in hiring and motivating leaders and salespeople. He took Dillard Paper to employee ownership (ESOP) long before it became popular. Due to his leadership, Dillard Paper eventually grew to a net worth of $110 million in 1991, when it was sold to International Paper Company.
Mr. Dillard founded “Art on Paper,” a continuing collection of contemporary American artists, now owned by the University of North Carolina. This collection is still supported by the company and is used to promote the use of paper in art as it travels around America on loan to various institutions.
Mr. Dillard also founded the Printing Industry of the Carolinas, a PIA affiliate and served as president for the first two terms.
He married Alice Walker and they had four children, daughters Walker Kirby and Dorothy Burns, and sons Spotswood and David.
Mr. Dillard died on December 25, 1975.