(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for ACM)
While Dr Pepper might be the beverage for Fansville, the favorite beverage has a loyal following that far extends its Lone Star State heritage. Whether people remember the classic jingle or just thirst to decipher the 23 flavors that compose the secret recipe, the fandom creates a bond, similar to the connection college alumni have long after earning that diploma. Recently, the Dr Pepper Hail Mary award celebrated college entrepreneurs for their forward thinking that is deserving of a rousing toast.
Over the years, the annual Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway program has helped to fund many students’ educational goals. Since 2008, the company has awarded more than $13 million in tuition. This year, the Hail Mary for $23K contest was more than just an open door to the classroom. It gave forward thinkers a seat at the table.
When this contest was announced, John Alvarado, SVP of Dr Pepper Brand Marketing said, “Every year we look forward to celebrating an inspiring and determined group of students who are passionate about their education and career.” This extension was to bring together academic goals and entrepreneurial dreams.
Three finalists pitched their ideas to Dallas Mavs owner, TV personality and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Elon University football player and TikTok star Jon Seaton, and Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones. While the three judges have diverse backgrounds, their commitment to forward thinking has made them leaders in their industry.
Recently, the winners from the Dr Pepper Hail Mary contest were announced. The winner was Cornell Student, Ben Catania. His pitch was Yoomi, “an AI-driven platform that allows physical therapists to better assist their patients during at-home exercise program.” Catania received $23,000 for tuition and $23,000 for seed money.
From students applying to college to who have matriculated, this program encourages them to think big. While the classroom can give them the foundation to foster their dreams, they need to have the courage to step into the boardroom and present their concepts. When both items come together, the innovation and progress is ready to be explored.
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