Samford University will recognize Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy during a reception at the quick-service chicken restaurant headquarters Aug. 2 in Atlanta.
The occasion will also introduce new Samford School of Business Dean Carl W. Gooding to Atlanta area alumni and friends. With more than 1,200 Samford grads, Atlanta is home to the school's largest alumni base outside Alabama.
Cathy will be honored for his stellar entrepreneurial and ethical business leadership, as well as his benevolent community spirit, during the 5-to-7 p.m. reception.
Cathy has several ties to Samford. Two of his three children, son Don and daughter Trudy, graduated from Samford, as did his son-in-law, John W. White, III.
Cathy's other son, Dan, graduated from Georgia Southern University, where new Samford business dean Gooding headed the College of Business Administration for 15 years.
"I have come to know Truett through his son, Dan, whom I hold in high esteem," said Gooding. "It is difficult to articulate praise for Truett without understating the case. He is truly a servant of God who lives every minute of every day with compassion and concern for others, especially children. Fortunately for many children, Truett is also a brilliant business strategist whose success is easily measured by his benevolence."
The food chain Cathy founded has annual sales approaching one billion dollars, despite being closed on Sundays. Son Dan is now president of Chick-fil-A and son Don is senior vice president.
Cathy is founder of both the WinShape Centre Foundation, which helps students succeed through scholarships and other youth-support programs, and the WinShape Homes Program, a long-term care program for foster children. In addition, Chick-fil-A's Leadership Scholarship Program has provided nearly $14 million in scholarships to employees since 1973.
Ann Eanes Padgett, a WinShape Scholar, will present the recognition award to Cathy during the program. A 1998 Samford graduate, she is an elementary school teacher in Fairmont, Ga.