Dough and Degrees: Shaquille O’Neal visits Atlanta, preaching education to busy restaurant workers – WSB-TV Channel 2
COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Standing 7-foot-1 and weighing well over 300 pounds with a Hall of Fame basketball pedigree, Shaquille O’Neal is many things. Sure, he’s a larger-than-life celebrity and personality, but he’s also a business owner who seems invested in the future of his employees.
O’Neal also works with Papa John’s Pizza. On Friday, he went out and surprised workers at the famous pizza chain with the gift of going to college. Free.
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Alison Mastrangelo, Channel 2 sports presenter caught up with O’Neal at the pizzeria headquarters at The Battery. He told Mastrangelo how much he values education and why he is thrilled to give young workers a chance to go to college.
“We allow our team members to continue their studies at no cost to them. We already have over 60 graduates who have graduated debt-free and Papa John’s is doing a wonderful thing,” O’Neal said. “I wish I could take all the credit, but I’m just one member of a great team.”
The program, called “Dough and Degrees,” encourages workers without a college degree to roll back or enroll, with the company picking up the cost from day one. The money covers tuition and associated fees. The company said about 80% of workers who started the program are frontline workers at their restaurants.
As for the “Big Aristotle,” after the surprise at Papa John’s offices at the Battery, O’Neal got on a school bus and helped his teammates deliver pizza to customers. All of this in a day’s work for easily the pizza company’s biggest board member.
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