Wittenberg’s annual Opening Convocation, the traditional kick-off of the new academic year, will take place at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, in historic Weaver Chapel with global marketing expert John Shumate, class of 1999, providing the keynote address titled “Be a Champion on Campus.”
Shumate, also a member of the University’s Board of Directors, currently serves as vice president of global brand marketing, Champion Brand, at Hanesbrands Inc. in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. He formerly served as vice president of brand marketing, luxury properties, at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas and as vice president for marketing and brand management at Eastbay, a subsidiary of Foot Locker. Prior to these positions, Shumate was the director of strategy and innovation for the Water+ brand at PepsiCo. He also held marketing positions with a number of sports teams, including the Miami Dolphins, Orlando Magic, and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I am looking forward to sharing with the students, faculty, and staff what it means to be a ‘champion’ and how there is ‘way more to it’ than just who scored the most points or won the most trophies,” Shumate said. “My goal is to share with the audience how my experience at Wittenberg has developed me and given me the confidence to ‘be my own champion.’ I want to connect with the Wittenberg community and specifically the class of 2025. This class is a very important class that has been through a lot and will go through a lot over the next four years, and I want to provide them with words of encouragement and advice that will inspire and motivate them to ‘be champions’ on campus.”
A proud alumnus, Shumate was actively involved with several organizations while a student at Wittenberg where he majored in business administration. A member of the Xi Chi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, he held leadership positions in the Student Senate, on the Student Appellate Board, and was among the founders of WittFest, a favorite annual outdoor concert-style event. Shumate later went on to earn his M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. He currently serves on the boards of the College Diabetes Network and Black Sports Professionals (BSP).
As vice president of global brand marketing for the Champion brand, Shumate serves as a key leader in the organization’s go-to-market strategy, providing leadership, direction, and strategy for building the global Champion brand.
“I am responsible for the development of the brand strategy, brand guardrails, and marketing plans to support annual sales and profit growth, as well as long-term brand equity goals for the Global Champion brand,” Shumate explained.
The Rev. Anders S. Tune, David and Carol Matevia Endowed University pastor, will deliver the invocation, while University President Michael L. Frandsen will provide the welcome. University Provost Michelle M. Mattson will introduce Shumate.
Also, during Opening Convocation, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Casey Gill will introduce Wittenberg’s student leaders, and Mattson will recognize faculty promotions and advancements to tenure.
The convocation will be live-streamed and can be viewed here.