2018 Scholars Banquet

Welcome the 30th Class of Coca-Cola Scholars!

Official Photo of the 2018 Coca-Cola Scholars with  J. Mark Davis, President, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation; Julie Hamilton, SVP, Chief Customer & Commercial Leadership Officer, The Coca-Cola Company; James Quincey, CEO, The Coca-Cola Company; Jack Pelo, President & CEO, Swire Coca-Cola USA and Jane Hale Hopkins, Vice President, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, celebrated in Atlanta at their reception and awards banquet on April 19th.

The 2018 and 30th class of Coca-Cola Scholars was officially welcomed and celebrated in Atlanta at their reception and awards banquet on April 19th. 

This year’s honored guest and speaker was Sara Blakely, Founder and CEO of SPANX, Inc.  Sara shared her non-traditional leadership journey with the audience through an engaging and lively conversation with Daron Roberts, 1997 Coca-Cola Scholar, Former NFL Coach, Best Selling Author and Entrepreneur.

Daron Roberts and Sara Blakely transformed a ballroom stage into a powerful personal conversation.

The evening’s agenda included a special moment to honor and thank Jack Pelo (President & CEO, Swire Coca-Cola USA), on his 20 years of service and retirement from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Board of Directors.  We also want to thank Morgan Everett (Vice President, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated) for her 7 years of service to the Scholars Board of Directors, as we welcome two NEW Board Members!  Thomas Benford, (Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida) and Hank Flint, (President & Chief Operating Office, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated) were elected in March to the Board of Directors of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.  We are certain they will bring great guidance and support to the Foundation!  

Honoring Mark Davis for his 30 years of service and upcoming retirement from The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation (left to right: Jack Pelo, Julie Hamilton, J. Mark Davis, Che Miller and Jane Hale Hopkins.)

A meaningful and touching part of the evening’s festivities was a celebration of Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation President, J. Mark Davis.  Mark’s 30 years of service parallels the growth and impact of our Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Mark, who will retire at the end of 2018, has been both heart and guiding light of the program and to many Scholars personally.  Mark was surprised with a special presentation by Che Miller, 1994 Scholar and General & Vascular Surgeon, Chief of Staff for Duncan Regional Hospital in Oklahoma.  The real surprise came when an assembly of Scholars who are also accomplished musicians took the stage to play and honor Mark. 

The Scholars Banquet is a highlight for our new Scholars, who travel to Atlanta for a special Scholars Weekend.  During this four-day weekend, the Scholars participate in a Leadership Development Institute to further develop their leadership skills, tour local landmarks, engage with former Coca-Cola Scholars and participate in a group community service project.  Coca-Cola Scholar alumni stay in touch through regional councils, special events, and through their local Coca-Cola Bottlers. The Coca-Cola Bottling community frequently showcases meaningful events that reinforce the program and support of our Scholars locally.

If you are new to having Scholar in your territory, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation team for assistance at coca-colascholars@coca-cola.com.   Bottling organizations whose territories correspond to each Scholar’s geography will receive a package with personalized certificates to use in local school award ceremonies. If you are a Bottler who has a winning Scholar or Regional Finalist in your territory, we encourage you to use the certificates, and work locally to create a special experience that acknowledges this distinction in local school award ceremonies.  With generous support from each of you — our Coca-Cola Bottlers and The Coca-Cola Company, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is one of the largest business-supported scholarship programs in the U.S.

As the Foundation celebrates its 30th class this year, the Coca-Cola system has invested more than $70 million in students who represent the most promising qualities of American youth throughout this country: academic excellence, positive leadership and a dedication to service. These students have a vision for positive change that is truly shaping a better future for our world and leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.  US Bottlers of Coca-Cola also play a central role in celebrating Scholarship winners in their respective markets!

Enjoy these photos and videos from the reception and banquet!





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