RTM Restaurant Group provides $1 million gift to CLEC

When RTM Restaurant Group was established in 1973‚ one of the things founder Russ Umphenour set out to prove was that a business could be successful without bending the rules or taking advantage of people. That continuing commitment to core values such as integrity‚ truthfulness and fairness was highlighted recently when the company pledged $1 million to the Center for Leadership‚ Ethics & Character over the next five years.

Georgia (Feb 17, 2003) — When RTM Restaurant Group was established in 1973‚ one of the things founder Russ Umphenour set out to prove was that a business could be successful without bending the rules or taking advantage of people. That continuing commitment to core values such as integrity‚ truthfulness and fairness was highlighted recently when the company pledged $1 million to the Center for Leadership‚ Ethics & Character over the next five years.



Umphenour‚ RTM’s president and CEO‚ announced the gift at fall commencement ceremonies in December‚ explaining to graduates that educators‚ like businessmen‚ "share the common goal to instill leadership‚ ethics and character as everyday standard operating procedures‚ not just as a shallow slogan. From the classroom to the boardroom‚ from report cards to annual reports‚ from textbooks to book value‚ educational institutions and businesses alike share accountability for developing future leaders who are grounded in ethical and decent behavior."



A commitment to strong ethical values hasn’t harmed RTM’s bottom line. To the contrary‚ the company operates more than 1‚000 restaurants‚ employs 20‚000 people and boasts annual sales of $800 million – all while striving to meet a higher standard.



"We are very much focused on bottom−line results‚" Umphenour told his audience‚ "but we value honor most – for profit without honor is a bankrupt philosophy that produces hollow results."



Dennis Cooper‚ RTM chairman and a member of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees‚ was one of the driving forces behind the contribution and views the gift as the beginning of a long−term relationship between RTM and Kennesaw State University. This relationship will include annual instructional visits by RTM senior management‚ as well as the expansion of RTM’s leadership development program to include working with faculty at the center and engaging students in leadership programs.



"Kennesaw State has long been committed to making lasting contributions to the larger public good‚" said KSU President Betty L. Siegel. "With this generous and long−lasting support from RTM Restaurant Group‚ we are able to further our commitment through the Center for Leadership‚ Ethics & Character."



This is the largest gift the center has received to date. According to Dr. Judy Stillion‚ center director‚ it will be used to fund two endowments; one will support projects and programs at the center‚ while the other will finance a Distinguished Chair in Ethical Leadership to be named for Dr. Siegel.



"This is a dynamic partnership‚ marrying an academic center with a large for−profit corporation‚ for a long−term relationship‚" said Dr. Wesley Wicker‚ interim vice president for university advancement at KSU. "Furthermore‚ it is a wonderful gesture‚ honoring Dr. Siegel with a Distinguished Professorship in Ethical Leadership in her name."




 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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