LOUISVILLE, Ky. — John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s, announced a $1 million gift to Simmons College of Kentucky today (Sept. 4), declaring, “Supporting Simmons College is a better investment to build a better community.”
On hand for the announcement was Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky; Dr. Samuel Tolbert, president of the National Baptist Convention of America, International; and national and city leaders.
The announcement of this gift comes after months of dialogue about the importance and value of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). While HBCUs constitute only 3% of America’s colleges and universities, they graduate a disproportionately high number of African American students. Three-quarters of all black students who earn a Ph.D. attended a HBCU, as did 85% of all black doctors and half of all black engineers and black public school teachers.
“The founding of Simmons College in 1879 is the most significant institutional achievement in the history of Black Kentuckians. Simmons as a historical black college is poised to be an agent of transformation, not only in the black community but in our city, state and nation,” Cosby said. “John is making and will continue to make an important difference. His support will have a profound impact on Simmons’ capacity to serve our city, state and nation.”
Schnatter also expressed his excitement in the partnership.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Dr. Cosby and Dr. Tolbert to learn about the important work they are doing in our community,” Schnatter stated. “I’m proud to support their efforts to help lift up those who want to better their own lives and the lives of those around them.”
Simmons is the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s only private HBCU, and it is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention of America.