Ball State University announced today that John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, will deliver the annual spring commencement address at 10 a.m. May 2. In addition to being the ceremony’s keynote speaker, he will also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Schnatter graduated from Ball State in 1983 in business administration, after which he returned to his hometown of Jeffersonville, IN. In an attempt to save his father’s business, Mick’s Lounge, in 1984, he sold his 1972 Camaro Z28 for capital to purchase used restaurant equipment. He then knocked down a broom closet and began delivering pizzas out of the back of the bar.
A year later, he started his own restaurant, Papa John’s. Today it has grown to the third-largest pizza chain in the US, with more than 4,600 stores in all 50 states and 34 countries, and more than 21,000 employees.
“John has demonstrated the abilities we encourage in our students. His story of hard work, perseverance and the willingness to take risks will be compelling and inspirational to each one in our audience,” stated Ball State President Paul W. Ferguson. “We are proud of his accomplishments and are so pleased to honor him at commencement.”
Schnatter, who currently resides in Anchorage, KY, has also previously received an award of achievement from Ball State’s Miller College of Business in 1993 and was inducted into its hall of fame in 2004.
Source: Ball State University