GREENSBORO, N.C. – Papa John’s President and CEO Steve Ritchie and members of his Executive Team will visit Bennett College on March 12 for what Bennett officials expect to be the beginning of a long-term, productive partnership.
During his visit to Greensboro, Ritchie and the Papa John’s contingent will tour the campus and meet with students. The day will also include a panel discussion about women entrepreneurs and a press conference.
In late January, The Papa John’s Foundation donated $500,000 to Bennett College in the waning days of its aggressive fundraising and social media campaign. Bennett hoped to raise a minimum of $5 million by Feb. 1. To date the College has raised just under $10 million.
“The Bennett College Board of Trustees, as well as Bennett’s faculty, staff, students and alumnae are very grateful to The Papa John’s Foundation for their generous financial support during our campaign,” said Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. “Moreover, we are delighted that Steve Ritchie is making room in his extremely busy schedule to visit us. Not many college students get the opportunity to interact with CEOs from large companies. Suffice it to say this is a very exciting time for Bennett College.”
Ritchie said he and his team look forward to coming to Bennett and to the ensuing partnership with the College.
“We are proud to officially launch The Papa John’s Foundation for Community Building at Bennett College, the Foundation’s first grantee,” said Ritchie. “The College’s mission to prepare women of color through a transformative liberal arts education is a natural alignment with the Foundation. We look forward to a continued partnership with the Belles of Bennett College and to supporting better lives and better communities through The Papa John’s Foundation.”
Ritchie will begin his day in the Journalism and Media Studies’ state-of-the-art TV and photography studio, where he will be interviewed by JMS students for a segment to air on The Weekly Ring, Bennett’s student-run news program, and also on BelleAir Radio, which airs on SiriusXM Channel 142. After a brief tour of Bennett’s campus, Ritchie and his team will meet with Bennett administrators before a 1 p.m. Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel inside Bennett’s
Global Learning Center
Expected panelists include: Michelyn Woodard, director of Good Robot at Bad Robot Productions and executive director of the Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation; Caroline Oyler, senior vice president, chief legal & risk officer for Papa John’s; Arsha Jones, co-owner of Capital City Mambo; Jeff Johnson, journalist and communications specialist; and Dr. Pamela Warner, a 1992 Bennett graduate and practicing pediatrician at ABC Pediatrics of Greensboro.
Tammy McNeil, an associate professor of business, economics and entrepreneurship, will moderate the panel. Graduating senior Tyler Binion of Nashville, Tennessee, other business administration students and students from other disciplines will attend.
During a 2:30 p.m. press conference, Dawkins and Ritchie will answer questions, and the College will formally acknowledge the $500,000 gift from The Papa John’s Foundation.
Last December, Bennett launched a historic fundraising campaign to demonstrate fiscal stability to its governing body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC. Bennett was removed from SACSCOC membership on Dec. 11 strictly for financial reasons and did not receive any sanctions against its academics, leadership faculty or students.
Bennett immediately appealed the SACSCOC decision, which was recently upheld after an appeals hearing in Atlanta. However, Bennett College remains accredited because of an agreement reached on Feb. 22 between the College and SACSCOC to preserve Bennett’s accreditation during legal proceedings, which are expected to last several months.
“Partnerships like the one we have established with Papa John’s will aid Bennett tremendously as we continue educating young women of color to become analytical thinkers, effective communicators and strong leaders,” said LaDaniel Gatling, II, vice president for institutional advancement. “I have enjoyed working with leaders at Papa John’s to arrange their visit to Greensboro, and I look forward to our partnership evolving and strengthening over time.”
To livestream the Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel:
To livestream the Press Conference: