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Monday, September 23, 2019

Students Disappointed After HBCU Declines $1 Million Scholarship Donation From Papa John’s Founder

Simmons College president with Papa John's founder

Louisville, KY — Simmons College, an HBCU in Kentucky, reportedly initially declined $1 million in scholarship funds that Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter wanted to donate earlier this month. As a result, 10 students who were initially promised the scholarship were disappointed that they would no longer receive the funds.

However, the administrators at Simmons College said an internal problem between the company and its founder is what really caused the confusion about the scholarship donation.

“It felt as though someone has taken weapons of mass destruction and flown them into the hopes and dreams and aspirations of some of America’s most vulnerable students,” said President Rev. Kevin Cosby about the company’s apparent decision to no longer make the donation.

The restaurant chain, however, claimed that the administrators at the college were the ones who rejected the scholarship funds through email.

“Thank you for our discussions on how to help support the students of Simmons College of Kentucky,” Von Purdy, Simmons’ director of development said in the email that was recently released. “In light of recent news, it is best to decline your scholarships at this time and perhaps look at other ways to partner in the future.”

Still, the college maintains that the email was sent only because a Papa John’s executive told them to do so.

Despite what appears to had been a miscommunication, Papa John’s has reportedly made a donation of $30,000 to Simmons college that will provide 15 students with $2,000 scholarships each.

Prior to that, John Schnatter, the founder and former chairman of Papa John’s Pizza, had reportedly agreed to donate $1 million to Simmons College and other Black churches. But that was about a year before he was forced to step down as chairman of the restaurant chain after he allegedly used the n-word during a meeting.