GREENSBORO, N.C. – Kwanza Jones, a prominent investor, philanthropist, lawyer and founder/CEO of lifestyle brand SUPERCHARGED® , will deliver Bennett College’s Commencement address on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. on the campus Quadrangle. Jones and her husband, José E. Feliciano, made an historic donation of $1 million to the #StandWithBennett Campaign.
Jones has a deep familial connection to Bennett College. Her mother, Dorothy Wilkerson Jones, is a 1965 Bennett alumna, her aunt, Brenda Wilkerson Hoover, is a 1963 graduate, and numerous other extended family attended and graduated from Bennett College. During a Feb. 4 press conference to announce the fundraising success of the #StandWithBennett Campaign, Jones said that she and Feliciano felt compelled to make their donation after her mother asked her to donate $1,926 to commemorate the year Bennett became a women’s only college.
“Through her mother and her aunt, Kwanza Jones grew up witnessing the impact Bennett College can have in shaping the lives of young women. We are grateful for the financial gift she made earlier this year to allow us to continue that mission,” said Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. “As an accomplished entrepreneur, investor and entertainer, I know Kwanza will inspire the Class of 2019 and our Commencement guests with a powerful speech, and I am delighted she continues to invest her time and talents in Bennett College and the young women we serve.”
Jones is the founder and CEO of SUPERCHARGED, a personal development platform that builds your fitness + confidence + community and helps people continuously power up their goals and elevate their lives. Jones and Feliciano also co-founded SUPERCHARGED Initiative, a grant-making and investment organization that focuses on making a lasting impact in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, equal opportunity and empowerment.
Besides her entrepreneurial endeavors, Jones has had a successful career as an entertainer, topping the Billboard music charts nine times, including reaching the Top 10. She released her first album while attending Princeton University, and has released three additional albums.
Jones’ philanthropy extends beyond the SUPERCHARGED Initiative. Along with other artists, including Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Mary J. Blige, she has supported Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), a New York-based organization that seeks to empower girls and women who have been sexually exploited.
Jones is a graduate of Princeton University and of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School at Law of Yeshiva University in New York City.
An expected 55 women will receive their degrees during Commencement Exercises. In case of inclement weather, Commencement will be moved to the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel on Bennett’s campus.
About Bennett College: Founded in 1873 as a coeducational institution, Bennett became women’s only in 1926. Bennett has a rich history of producing outstanding women leaders, including the first woman or African American to head the U.S. Peace Corps, the first African American mayor of the city of Greensboro, the first African American female district attorney in North Carolina, the first African American woman to serve as assistant attorney general in the state of Massachusetts and the Deputy Minority Leader in the North Carolina Legislature – just to name a few. At Bennett, where students are taught how to become analytical thinkers, strong leaders and effective communicators, the top five majors are Journalism and Media Studies, Biology, Social Work, Psychology and Business Administration.