Already a big-time businessman, Shaquille O’Neal is making another really big move, this time with some real “historic” meaning. In a press release, Shaq has announced a new partnership with an organization of colleges called HBCU, Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
We already know that Shaq is a major player in Papa John’s Pizza. He’s a franchise owner with eight current stores in the Atlanta area, and he’s on the company’s Board of Directors as well. (See some of our previous posts here on the ShaqFu Radio Blog for more information.) Now, Shaq wants to bring a Papa John’s Pizza outlet to every Historically Black College & University Campus. His first will be on the campus of Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama. Shaq made the announcement along with Miles’ President Bobbie Knight.
In a prepared statement, Miles President Knight said, “Miles College is honored to partner with Shaquille and welcome him to our historic and beautiful campus. Shaquille is a skilled investor, savvy entrepreneur, and marketing and branding genius.” Wow! Now Shaq can add “genius” to his resume.
Knight continued: “This partnership tells the world that this is Miles College’s day, and this is Miles College’s time; to show America that (HBCUs) Historically Black Colleges & Universities can join icons like Shaquille and launch business ventures on our campuses like a Papa John’s,” states President Knight.
Along with the franchise outlets for Papa John’s, Shaq also owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta. Not only that, he’s the founder and owner of his own brand-name restaurant, called “Big Chicken” (which currently has outlets in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship). He also owns a fine-dining restaurant in LA called (you guessed it) Shaquille’s.
Shaq is no stranger to the college campus environment. Education is a big focus for the big man; he holds a B.A. degree in general studies, with a Minor in Political Science from LSU; in 2005 he earned an MBA degree from the University of Phoenix; and in 2012 he received an Ed.D. in Human Resources Development from Barry University.
In the big-news press release, Shaq said, “Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have paved the way for African Americans and people of other races to deservedly receive a quality education. HBCUs have been pivotal in the development of young minds; influential in highlighting the history and culture of African Americans and effectively provided a means for academic success.”
Shaq used the words and ideas of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, “If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that’s positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire and it has to be presented in a compelling way, so that they feel inspired to follow.”
Shaq said he shares the ideas of the founders of Historically Black Colleges & Universities, “Carving out a venue to education, independence, and success.” He said the move with Miles College will create opportunities for all other HBCUs. The Shaq business empire continues to grow…and to help people!