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President of Jordan Brand for NIKE and Benedict Alumnus Craig A. Williams will be the Keynote Speaker at the 150 th Commencement Convocation

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President of Jordan Brand for NIKE and Benedict Alumnus Craig A. Williams will be the Keynote Speaker at the 150 th Commencement Convocation

Mr. Craig A. Williams, Class of 1990, will be the keynote speaker for the 150 th Commencement Convocation on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 7 p.m. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, the in-person ceremony will be for graduates only

COLUMBIA, SC – July 28, 2020 – Mr. Craig A. Williams, Class of 1990, will be the keynote speaker for the 150 th Commencement Convocation on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 7 p.m. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, the in-person ceremony will be for graduates only.  It will be livestream for parents, alumni, friends and the community to view. The virtual ceremony will be available on the Benedict College website and YouTube channel. The Commencement viewing links will also be provided on Benedict’s social media pages.

“We are delighted to bring home one of our all-star physics majors to speak to this very special class of graduates,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “As the President of a multi-billion-dollar brand, he is the consummate example of the BEST of BC!”

Craig Williams currently serves as the President of Jordan Brand. In this role, Craig leads the vision, strategy and growth of Jordan Brand globally as well as a passionate team of designers, product developers, marketers, merchants and business leaders who comprise the multi-billion-dollar brand. He is responsible for overseeing day- to-day operations and works directly with the Jordan Brand Advisory
Board, including Nike, Inc. executives and Michael Jordan, to accelerate the Jordan business internationally.

Prior to joining NIKE, Inc. Craig was the Senior Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company and President of The McDonald's Division (TMD) Worldwide where he was responsible for brand and category
growth. Craig has held positions within TMD, including: Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Vice President TMD U.S., Assistant Vice President of U.S. Marketing and Group Director of
U.S. Marketing. Prior to Coca-Cola, Craig spent three years in the eye care industry with CIBA Vision Corporation in global marketing, seven years in brand management with Kraft Foods Inc., and five
years in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Nuclear Power Officer.

Craig received his MBA from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Physics from Benedict College. Outside of Nike, Inc., Craig enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Gloria who is also a graduate of Benedict College and their two daughters, Keisha and Kelse.

About Benedict College

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co- educational liberal arts institution with over 2,100 students enrolled in its 25 baccalaureate degree programs. Defying trends, Benedict College maintains an equal male and female student population. This Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world.

Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty of which 80 percent are full-time, and 60 percent hold doctorates or the equivalent.

Over the past ten years, three out of five Benedict College graduates have attended professional or graduate schools. There are over 17,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree.

The College made front-page news in the spring of 2018 when it became the first South Carolina college to lower its tuition by 26 percent. Cutting tuition drew praise from the Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina’s education oversight body. The commissioner noted that the move Benedict College made should be applauded because it offers families affordability and students greater access to higher education.

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.  For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research.  In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest.

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