Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration has received a $350,000 grant from the PepsiCo Foundation to support its diversity efforts. The grant, to be paid over five years, will fund diversity recruitment, retention and professional development initiatives for its students.

The grant was announced by 1983 college alumnus John Compton, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods.

“We are delighted to help UT’s College of Business Administration broaden its reach in developing the next generation of business leaders,” Compton said. “We need to help all of our young people develop to their full potential to drive economic growth in Tennessee and across the country.”

Among the goals of the college’s diversity initiatives is the desire to increase the number of minority students who graduate with a business major. The current minority population of the business school is around 10 percent. In the next four years, the business school’s strategic plan calls for an increase to 14 percent so that the business school mirrors the diversity of the entire Knoxville campus.

“Having a diverse and inclusive student body is a significant goal of both the college and the university,” said Jan Williams, dean of UT’s College of Business Administration. “Our college must reflect the intercultural and international environment for which we are preparing our students. We are deeply grateful for the support that John and the PepsiCo Foundation have provided.”

Diversity recruitment includes three areas of support: scholarships, career fairs and the Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) summer program, designed to introduce high school students from diverse backgrounds to the various fields of business.

Diversity retention includes scholarship and academic support, such as tutoring, peer mentoring and leadership development.

Diversity professional development assists with the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, primarily in the full-time MBA program. Students will be able to attend their affinity conference and be able to secure internships as well as gain important professional and personal development skills.

The PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, responsible for providing charitable contributions to eligible nonprofit organizations. The foundation is committed to developing sustainable partnerships and programs in underserved communities that provide opportunities for improved health, environment and inclusion. For more information, visit


Cindy Raines, (865) 974-4359,