June 27, 2012 // Franchising.com // LOUISVILLE, KY - More than 80,000 high school seniors applied to join this year's class of Colonel's Scholars and 75 have been selected to receive up to $20,000 each in scholarship funds. The program founded to honor the memory of Colonel Harland Sanders seven years ago has now awarded more than $10 million in scholarships to allow high school seniors to pursue bachelor's degrees.
"Colonel Sanders was passionate about kids and education, so the KFC family continues to honor his legacy by awarding another 75 college scholarships this year," said John Cywinski, President of KFC U.S. "These scholarships are changing the lives of some very deserving students, and these young people may someday change the world."
Each of the 75 Scholars in this year's class has an inspiring story, including 15-year-old Jay Turner of Ashby, Minn. Jay will pursue a degree in Biochemistry/Math/Physics at the University of Minnesota-Morris. Amazingly, he becomes the third member of the same family to attend UMM after graduating early from high school and receiving a Colonel's Scholars scholarship.
Jay's older brother Neil was awarded the KFC scholarship in 2009 and graduated from UMM this spring. Jay's older sister Megan received her Colonel's Scholars scholarship in 2010 and will graduate this summer.
"I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it," said Jay's mom Maria Turner, while attending a scholarship award party at the KFC in Fergus Falls, Minn. "I'm just so amazingly grateful to KFC for all they've done for this family."
"Amazing" is a word that comes up often when discussing Colonel's Scholars. Two 2006 Scholars have completed their undergraduate work and have now been accepted to Harvard University. Mario Haynes graduated from the University of Georgia and has been accepted to the Master of Fine Arts acting program at Harvard. Sylvia Leung graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and is enrolled in Harvard's Master of Public Policy program.
To date, a total of 525 students have received scholarships from KFC and 191 have received their bachelor's degrees. The average GPA for Colonel's Scholars recipients is 3.4
To continue honoring the Colonel's passion for education, KFC announced an employee scholarship program for 2012. For the first time, the foundation will award 300 $1,500 scholarships to current employees. The scholarships are reserved for hourly team members and shift managers (both traditional and non-traditional students) and can be used to pay for college or technical school. Winners of the Colonel's Scholars Employee Scholarship will be announced later this summer.
KFC Colonel's Scholars, now in its seventh year, is a program of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Foundation, honoring the legacy of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. The KFC Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 charity supported by KFC, its employees, franchisees and KFC patrons, and has awarded more than $10 million in scholarships since its inception. Its mission is to empower students to improve their lives with the help of scholarship resources.
Scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors based on financial need, entrepreneurial spirit, and the impact the students have on their schools and communities. Scholars attend post-secondary schools within their states of residence. KFC Colonel's Scholars is a registered trademark of KFC Corporation.
For more information, please visit www.kfcscholars.org or www.facebook.com/kfcfoundation.colonelsscholars.
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Kentucky Grilled Chicken® and Crispy Strips with home-style sides, Hot Wings, and freshly made chicken sandwiches including the Double Down® and the Doublicious®. There are more than 15,000 KFC outlets in 109 countries and territories around the world serving some 12 million customers each day. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM.) For more information, visit www.kfc.com. Follow KFC on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KFC) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/kfc_colonel).
The Kentucky Fried Chicken concept was pioneered by Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980), whose cooking career began at age six. Sanders held jobs ranging from streetcar conductor to insurance salesman, but his cooking skills were a constant throughout his life. In 1930, Sanders operated a service station in Corbin, Ky., and filled the stomachs of hungry travelers who stopped in to fill up their gas tanks. Sanders soon moved his restaurant across the street when he could no longer keep up with the demand from travelers who he had been feeding at his kitchen table. In 1935, the Kentucky Governor made Sanders an honorary Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the state's cuisine. Over the next decade, the Colonel perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique still used at KFC today. When Sanders was 65, a new interstate highway forced the closure of his restaurant and he was left with only his recipe for fried chicken and a $105 Social Security check. The Colonel hit the road and struck handshake deals with restaurant owners who agreed to sell his fried chicken. What began as a dream fueled by the Original Recipe, a no-quit attitude and a Social Security check grew into the world's largest chicken restaurant chain. Until he passed away in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel still traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world.